The final leg of the Western European League World Cup circuit was played this afternoon in Gothenburg, Sweden. After a five-way play-off, Geir Gullisken took the win, surprising a bunch of stars. Together with their respective Twentytwo des Biches and For Joy van't Zorgvliet*HDC, Bryan Balsiger and Kevin Staut completed the podium.
“I never thought this would happen in my career,” exclaimed Geir Gulliksen at a press conference after his victory in the Grand Prix of the CSI 5*-W in Gothenburg, the backbone of the very last stage of the Western European World Cup circuit. Together with VDL Groep Quatro, formerly ridden by Dutch rider Maikel van der Vleuten, Geir Gulliksen created a surprise by knocking out his thirty-one opponents. Gulliksen finished the fastest of the five second laps, winning this last indoor stage with flying colors and qualifying for the final race in Las Vegas. “I have competed all over the world and there is no crowd like the one in Gothenburg. The course was technical, fair and interesting. The track manager Peter Lundström is one of the future best builders! My horse VDL Groep Quatro is so athletic even though he doesn’t have unlimited strength. He has incredible self-confidence.”
A little anecdote: the Scandinavian rider suffered a fall from VDL Groep Quatro today… during the prize-giving ceremony! The naughty and feisty bay rider made a U-turn in the middle of the prize-giving ceremony and his rider lost his balance. “Normally I think about it and pay attention, but I was so happy that I forgot to be careful,” he laughed.
In the only other clear round of the event, young Swiss rider Bryan Balsiger finished second with Twentytwo des Biches, the Selle Français by Mylord Carthago, which had enjoyed great success with Romain Duguet. The last step of the podium was taken by Kevin Staut. Accompanied by For Joy van’t Zorgvliet*HDC, the pillar of France had signed the fastest of the play-offs but was fouled. His compatriot Julien Anquetin finished seventh with Gravity of Greenhill.
The Swedish tenors Henrik von Eckermann and Peder Fredricson were also unlucky to be fouled on the final obstacle in the first round.