Equestrianism - Jubliant Schwizer sets Lyon on fire

Pius Schwizer was barely able to contain his delight as the Swiss jumper won the Rolex FEI World Cup Grand Prix in Lyon.

In front of 6,000 spectators in the galleries, the 50-year-old ended his weekend in the best possible fashion: with victory in what he considers to be one of the best shows in the world.

The jumper, ranked fourth in the world, celebrated by throwing his helmet to the delighted crowd in full gallop during the prize giving ceremony.

Victory did not come easily though, in a field that contained some of the best riders in the world.

Onboard Verdi III, Schwizer was last to go and, although he took risks, he bettered the time set by Belgian Ludo Philippaerts and Challenge vd Begijnakker by a mere one second.

Philippaerts claimed silver.

Switzerland, always very well represented in Lyon, saw another of its riders on the podium with Paul Estermann winning bronze.

After this third leg of the winter jumping circuit, Schwizer is in third place in the provisional rankings with a total of 32 points. While there are still nine legs to compete, he is almost assured of a place in April's final in Sweden.

Ahead of him is leader Sergio Alvarez Moya (38), and Jeroen Dubbeldam in second (35).

Next stop for the World Cup is Verona, Italy next weekend.