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Chardon wins in Geneva
10 December 2006

After a thrilling competition, World Cup? title defender IJsbrand Chardon beat the amazingly performing French wild card driver Benjamin Aillaud in the fourth leg of the FEI World Cup? Competition in Geneva. Chardon is herewith back on track towards qualification for the Final in Gothenburg in February. Stockholm-winner Koos de Ronde came third and has now taken over the lead in the points standings.

Chardon had a bad start in Geneva. He made a mistake in one of the obstacles during the warm up competition and came last. Being the first starter in the World Cup competition, Chardon drove a fast and clear round. His new wheeler horse was doing a good job and Chardon started his winning round with confidence, despite the fact that he had not driven the shortened course before. ?I knew I had to stay clear in order to put the pressure on Aillaud, who was in the lead?, commented Chardon, who brought up the speed in his team and finished with a clear round.

Benjamin Aillaud made a big impression in Geneva with his beautiful team of Lipizzaner horses, which he also uses for the outdoor competitions. He amazed friend and enemy by winning the warm up competition, where he was the first starter. Not having driven an event of World Cup level before, the number 10 of the World Championships in Aachen was suddenly catapulted from underdog to one of the favourites to win the competition in Geneva.

Driving his team of young horses into the arena after Chardon had finished, Aillaud was too concentrated to take note of Chardon?s performance. ?I was sure that Chardon would have done well and I just needed the little time I had to play with my horses and to get their confidence before we started.? Aillaud really went for it but he unfortunately had two faults, which made him drop to second place. ?I always try to do what I am able to do and although I was pushing a bit, I reached my top,? explained Aillaud, who was extremely pleased to be invited to compete in Geneva with a wild card. The 30-year old professional horseman was already planning to try to qualify for the FEI World Cup? season 2007/2008 this coming summer and is even more determined to reach this goal after his wonderful performance in the Palexpo in Geneva.

Dutch driver Koos de Ronde knew that he could not end worse than third place and decided to put up the speed in his team. ?It went really well, but I took too much risk in the second marathon obstacle and my left leader horse knocked two balls down. I lost my concentration after that, but I am still very pleased with my third place and the lead in the standings. My next and last start is in Amsterdam and I hope I do well there so I have a good chance to qualify for the Final.

For Switzerland?s Werner Ulrich it was his first FEI World Cup? competition of this season. After his hernia operation in August, Ulrich is slowly regaining the strength in his arms. ?I am very pleased with my horses, but not with myself. I took too much risk and I had difficulties finding the right rhythm. But I will be better next time!?

Dutch driver Theo Timmerman, member of the bronze team at the World Championships in Aachen, made his World Cup debut in Geneva. Driving a team of three Lipizzaner horses and a Hungarian warm blood crossed with a trotter, the 42-year old driver came fifth in the technical but fair course, designed by Germany?s Falk B?nisch, which also included a spectacular water splash.

Ulrich?s fellow countryman Dani? W?gler was not very lucky today. After having taken the water obstacle with some difficulties, W?gler?s carriage tipped over and one of his grooms was injured. She was taken to hospital with a broken leg.

Results CAI-W Geneva:
1. Ijsbrand Chardon (Ned) 263.65
2. Benjamin Aillaud (Fra) 275.34
3. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 286.62
4. Werner Ulrich (Sui) 148.53
5. Theo Timmerman (Ned) 162.90
6. Dani? W?gler (Sui) AB

Classification after 4 of 7 events:
1. Koos de Ronde (Ned) 17
2. IJsbrand Chardon (Ned) 15
2. Jozsef Dobrovitz (Hun) 15
4. Christoph Sandmann (Ger) 14
5. Michael Freund (Ger) 12
5. Tomas Eriksson (Swe) 12
7. Gert Schrijvers (Bel) 8
8. Benjamin Aillaud (Fra) 7
9. Fredrik Persson (Swe) 3
9. Werner Ulrich (Sui) 3
11. Laszlo Juhasz (Hun) 2
11. Atilla Bardos (Hun) 2
11. Dani? W?gler (Sui) 2
11. Theo Timmerman (Ned) 2

The next FEI World Cup? Driving event takes place in Mechelen, Belgium, on 29 & 30 December. Website: www.jumping-mechelen.com