PARIS, France--The Masters Series for 2018 and 2019 began in Paris with a win on home soil for Riders Europe over Riders USA on Saturday, Dec. 1, in the third installment of the innovative Riders Masters Cup.
Jessica Springsteen of Colts Neck, N.J., earned the lone victory in the first round for her team, but her teammates, Taylor Alexander, McLain Ward, Laura Kraut, and Lucas Porter, captained by Chef d’Equipe Robert Ridland mounted a comeback in the speed portion, in which victory was worth double points.
The score stood at 45 to 30 at the half before Kraut and Porter beat Van Der Vleuten and Charles by fractions of a second over the speed track.
Riders USA crept into the lead, but Spanish Olympian Aznar, Italian team member Levy, and German Olympic team bronze medalist Deusser were quick to answer by winning their matches and securing Riders Europe the title.
THE AMERICANS tried to trick us and changed the starting order we had decided in the beginning at the very last minute," said Riders Europe Captain and French Chef d'Equipe Philippe Guerdat. “Things got a bit tense after the second duel that we lost by one tenth of a second. The Riders USA even took the lead for a while. They fought a good battle. But all is well that ends well.”
The Riders Masters Cup will continue at the Longines Masters of New York, held at NYCB Live, Home of the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum, on April 25-28, 2019.
After winning the inaugural Riders Masters Cup during the 2017 edition of the Longines Masters of Paris and then again at the first Longines Masters of New York in April 2018, Riders Europe rode to another win in front of an electric crowd in the French capital city.
Decorated riders including Eduardo Alvarez Aznar, Edward Levy, Harry Charles, Maikel Van Der Vleuten, and Daniel Deusser dominated the first round of head-to-head duels with four wins.
Both Porter, 21, and Charles, 19, made their debut in Riders Masters Cup competition, and Guerdat said, “The Riders Masters Cup is a great experience of a high level team competition for our young riders.”