A newcomer to the German team sprung the biggest surprise in the final, individual classification of the European Show Jumping Championships at Donaueschingen, Germany, when he beat his vastly more experienced team mates to head a German whitewash.

Christian Ahlmann, 28, whose consistent form this year and third place in the final team trial earned him a team place ahead of better known riders, has had a fantastic senior debut.

His compatriots Ludger Beerbaum and Marcus Ehning also performed clear rounds to move up in the final reckoning and grab the silver and bronze medals from under the outraged noses of Belgian and Swedish supporters.

For good measure, Otto Becker, the fourth and oldest team member, was ninth.

In the most dramatic of finishes, the veteran Belgian Ludo Phillipaerts, riding the lovely grey Parco, lost the gold medal – any medal in fact – by just one time fault. He had a fence in hand and, approaching the last fence clear, had the medal won until a moment’s hesitation caused Parco to whack out the top rail and accrue that fatal time fault, thus dropping him to fourth.

Sweden’s blonde bombshell Malin Baryard made a meteoric rise from 12th to second in the first individual round, but a single rail also cost her a medal.

Ireland’s Kevin Carling, fourth at the start of the competition, also dropped out of sight, to 11th, while none of his team mates nor Britain’s Nick Skelton, bothered to jump in the individual class.

Results: 1, Christian Ahlmann/Coster (GER), 11,55; 2, Ludger Beerbaum/Goldfever 3 (GER), 11,59; 3, Marcus Ehning/For Pleasure (GER), 12,01; 4, Ludy Phillippaerts/Parco 4 (BEL), 12,21; 5, Malin Baryard/Butterfly Flip (SWE), 12,49; 6, Steve Guerdat/Tepic La Silla (SUIO) 12,54; 7, Reynald Angot/Tialoc M (FRA), 13,20; 8, Michel Hecart/Quilano de Kalvarie (FRA), 15,44; 9, Otto Becker/Dobel’s Cento (GER), 15.73; 10, Beat mandli/Pozitano (SUI), 18,48; 11, Kiven Babington/Carling King (IRL), 18,87; 12, Wim Schroder/Eurocommerce Berlin (NED), 19,08.