Virginie Atger wins the 65th International Raid of Barcelona – Santa Susana

®Berta Barnils

The French elite rider Virginie Atger won the 65th Barcelona International Raid – Santa Susana (sponsored by SportHG and Meydan), the oldest equestrian endurance competition in Europe. Atger completed the 192km course in two stages on her horse Come’t d’Ardene with a time of 11:45 and demonstrated his enormous quality at the end-of-season party of the European endurance.

For 20 years, the town of Santa Susana has hosted the Barcelona Raid on the start of december. The event enjoys a special prestige among the European riders of this discipline, both for its age and for the closure of the sports season. The discipline of endurance or raid, in peak in recent years, consists of traveling long distances on horseback, divided into several phases. Thus, a great physical and mental resistance is required for both the rider and the horse, as well as great  skills of domination of time and energy.

In this edition of the Raid, four races of different distances were disputed, gathering 155 pairs of 17 different nationalities. On Thursday, a CEI * of 85km in 3 phases was proposed, which was dominated by the french Roman Lafaure and his Taribac Cabirat with a time of 4 hours and 38 minutes. But the main courses would start on Friday and end on Saturday: a CEI ** of 76km on the first day and 76km on the second with 60 participants; the same race in the junior version and, finally, a spectacular CEI *** of 96km on Friday and 96km on Saturday. The Italian Daniele Serioli and his Veinard Secondo won in the CEI ** 76×76 with 8 hours and 17 minutes, while Agda Muixí with Gorosti Pagadi and Diane Origgi with Calatea Bosana were second and third respectively. For its part, the French Isee Rogliardo won the junior race with Ga Arush bin Tango in 8 hours and 41 minutes, the European junior champion Raquel Costa with Egipte Cost was second and Laura Fernandez entered third with Cybele du Castel.

Twenty riders and amazons dared with the wild CEI *** 96×96, a distance only reachable by the most resistant horses. Most of them fell between the phases due to veterinary controls, until only 7 pairs remained. Atger did not dominate the race from start to finish, and even at the end of Friday was ranked 10th. But Saturday was her big day, her rivals were falling and showed in a spectacular comeback why she is considered one of the best amazons in the world. Atger stopped the clock in 11 hours and 45 minutes and was the big protagonist of another great and emotional festival of international endurance in Santa Susana.

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