Silvia Stopazzini and Lorenzo Lupacchini. (Tomas Holcbecher/FEI)
Salzburg (AUT), 11 December 2016 – Under the lights of the incredible Meivisto Amadeus Horse Indoors arena in Salzburg (AUT), Lukas Heppler (SUI) won the male competition in spectacular fashion at this third leg of the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting series, while Italy dominated as Anna Cavallaro lifted the female title and Silvia Stopazzini and Lorenzo Lupacchini got their World Cup campaign off to a perfect start winning the pas-de-deux.
Salzburg certainly lived up to its reputation for delivering fascinating FEI World Cup™ Vaulting qualifiers with highly competitive classes across the board.
Rising to the pressure
Just 0.1 point separated the top three female athletes going into the second round, leaving no room for error.
Under intense pressure Anna Cavallaro, the favourite in Salzburg after her win in Madrid, drew on her vast competition experience to perform a near perfect second round, scoring 8,499 to win on Monaco Franze 4 with lunger Nelson Vidoni.
Silvia Stopazzini, competing in the individual female as well as the pas-de-deux classes, wowed the crowds and judges as she commenced her FEI World Cup™ Vaulting 2016/2017 campaign with an elegant bird interpretation that perfectly balanced strength, control and grace. Partnering with nine-year-old gelding Hot Date Tek and lunger Laura Carnabuci, she scored 8.266 for a routine to watch out for as the World Cup progresses.
Regina Burgmayr (GER), who placed second after the first competition, scored 7.906 to finish fifth on day two, leaving the door open for Switzerland’s Nadja Buttiker (7.976) and Marina Mohar (7.945) who finished third and fourth respectively.
Unstoppable in Salzburg
Switzerland’s Lukas Heppler, after winning in Madrid and placing second in Paris, continued his dominance in Salzburg in spectacular fashion, performing his Marco Polo freestyle that excels both technically and artistically.
Competing on his third horse of the tournament, Ramazotti 155, Heppler continued to show his calibre as a world class vaulter, adapting to a range of horses and still performing outstanding routines. With lunger Melanie Neubauer, he won on a score of 8.541.
The 2015 FEI European Champion Jannis Drewell’s Sherlock Holmes routine was not enough to challenge, and with a more reserved performance than usual he took second place (8,260) on Lago Maggiore 25 with his mother and lunger Simone Drewell.
Balazs Bence (HUN) once again entertained the World Cup crowd pulling up from sixth in the first round to finish third on 8,079, pushing Daniel Kaiser (GER), last year’s FEI World Cup™ Vaulting winner, into fourth place after he suffered a fall from the horse at the end of his freestyle.
Golden day for Italy – when two become one… or four become one!
Italy’s Silvia Stopazzini and Lorenzo Lupacchini in their first season together proved that their individual skills fit perfectly in pas-de-deux. On top of this, they performed for the first competitive time on Rosenstolz, who had previously only worked with individual vaulters in international competition.
“Today our performance was much better than yesterday, and I feel relaxed in this arena. I love competing under the lights here in Salzburg,” said Silvia Stopazzini. “Lorenzo is one of my best friends and I really enjoy performing with him; he is secure and I trust him completely.”
The 2011 FEI European pas-de-deux champions Torben Jacobs and Theresa Sophie Bresch (GER) made their World Cup début together finishing second on a score of 7.761. Torben, who won the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting pas-de-deux last year with Pia Engelberty, is now back with Bresch following Engelberty’s retirement from the sport.
Syra Schmid and Zoe Macuccio (SUI) rounded off the podium taking third place on 7,247, with a much improved performance of their 007 routine.
Next stop Mechelen
FEI World Cup™ Vaulting kicks back into action in Mechelen (BEL) on the 27-29 December (full programme: http://www.jumping-mechelen.com/en/program).
Current world vaulting number one Kristina Boe (GER) will commence her FEI World Cup™ Vaulting campaign in Mechelen, hoping to go one better after finishing runner-up in the FEI World Cup™ Vaulting2015/2016.
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