In a concept unique to the Longines Masters, the Riders Masters Cup pits five-member teams from Europe and the United States in a head-to-head battle. Riders USA was looking to break the streak and take a home a win on home soil, but it was not to be as Riders Europe swept the fourth edition of the Riders Masters Cup.
At the end of the first round Riders Europe was out in front with a total of 40 points after duel wins for Pius Schwizer, Darragh Kenny, and Edward Levy, while Riders USA were still well within striking distance with 30 points after Kristen Vanderveen and McLain Ward were victorious.
Tactics came into play with the team captains strategizing about their match-ups for the second round, which is run in a speed format with double points on the line. Again it was close after the first three battles. While Riders Europe won the first two from Schwizer and Levy, Riders USA’s Lillie Keenan took the third duel. But despite a refusal in the fourth duel, Darragh Kenny took the top points for Riders Europe, sealing the win for his team. Harrie Smolders won the final duel to leave Riders Europe on 130 points to 90 points for Riders USA. Riders Europe maintained its supremacy, remaining unbeaten in the fourth battle to date.
Coming into New York, Riders Europe had won the first three events. Much to the disappointment of the supportive New York crowd, Riders Europe maintained its supremacy, remaining unbeaten in the fourth battle to date.
“I am proud of this group,” said captain Guerdat of his Riders Europe team. “I was able to create a real team spirit since the beginning of the week; we have all been eating together, for example.”
“It seems like it was a pretty big margin and, in some ways, it was, but with just a couple things going differently we could have won it,” affirmed Ridland. “It’s not fun losing. I don’t enjoy losing and none of us were particularly happy about that but the format, I think, is tremendous. It’s unique and we will be back again in Paris and we hope for a different result.”
Read a detailed summary of the duel here