Star Power on Starting Grid for 2018 GCL Championship Race

Media Contact: Anna Goodrum
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Miami, Fla. – March 17, 2018 – The new lineup of 19 GCL teams for the start of the 2018 season were revealed on Monday, featuring the biggest names in the sport of show jumping.

During an intense off-season period, team owners and managers have been battling to sign up star strikers and talented youngsters to boost their firepower for the third year of the GCL. This year, a guaranteed overall season prize purse of €35 million will be paid out to the world’s best individual and team riders. This includes €12 million to be shared at the spectacular new GC Prague playoffs Dec. 13–16.

The new GCL lineup sees big names coming into the team series for the first time and others switching teams. The groundbreaking format means leading athletes from different countries can compete together for the first time creating fascinating new alliances — and dramatic rivalries — like never before in the sport.

Sixteen action-packed events in the regular season will culminate in the team and individual finals in Doha, Qatar, this November. This year, the pressure will be more intense than ever in the battle to earn a golden ticket to the GC Prague playoffs.

With 19 teams competing throughout the 2018 season, only 16 will qualify for the GCL Super Cup at the GC Prague playoffs. The Czech capital will also see every individual Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) grand prix winner invited to the prestigious Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix — the ultimate showdown starring the season’s top performers.

This year’s power-packed GCL sees 90 percent of athletes (excluding the U25 competitors) ranked in the top 250* in the world, including 25 out of the top 30. In addition, 25 percent of the total athletes taking part in the GCL this season are aged under 25.

Star names this season include: Kent Farrington, Harrie Smolders, Scott Brash, Ludger Beerbaum, John Whitaker, Eric Lamaze, Simon Delestre, Marcus Ehning, Edwina Tops-Alexander, Rolf-Göran Bengtsson, Lorenzo de Luca, Daniel Deusser, Laura Kraut, Christian Ahlmann, Gregory Wathelet, Maikel van der Vleuten, Ben Maher, Bertram Allen, Michael Whitaker, Philipp Weishaupt and Pius Schwizer.

Fans around the world will be able to watch all of the sporting drama unfold on the official GC TV live streaming platform with expert insights and analysis from the live studios, thrilling commentary, exclusive behind-the-scenes interviews and features with the top athletes and their horses.

GC TV will continue to innovate and elevate the viewing experience with new graphics and technology, such as the immersive 360-degree experience in 2017, to take fans backstage with the stars at the extraordinary LGCT events around the world.

Strategy will be more important than ever in the high stakes 2018 season as teams decide which rider-and-horse combinations to field at the different events on the circuit.

This year, team riders will start consecutively, one after the other, quickly showing fans the total team result — adding to the tension and excitement as the following teams set their sights on the target to beat in the 1.55m/1.60m GCL competitions.

Talking about the introduction of the GC Prague playoffs this season, reigning LGCT champion and riding for the Montreal Diamonds this year, Harrie Smolders, said, “It’s something totally new, but I think it’s going to be really exciting. The GCL is renewing our sport, while also respecting the heritage. They keep the same values.”

Nicola Philippaerts spoke about why he’s confident the London Knights will be ones to watch this season, stating, “I’m really excited about our team this year; we have an incredibly strong squad and a wide range of top horses who we can compete strategically at all of the different destinations in the championship. The level of sport in the GCL is the very top, and for sure it will be tough as there are so many good riders on different teams this year.”

German maestro Marcus Ehning of Valkenswaard United said, “GCL is very competitive sport, with some of the best riders in the world competing in wonderful and very different locations throughout the world for the prestigious title at the end of the season.”

The 2018 season will kick-off in Mexico City, Mexico, March 22–25, where teams will reveal who they’ll select to play up front in the crucial first round of the circuit.

For the full team list, please click here.

*As per the official FEI rankings on Sept. 1, 2017, according to the GCL rules.

Three-Day Show Jumping Spectacular for LGCT Miami Beach!

The provisional schedule for the 2018 Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) Miami Beach is now available! The breathtaking Atlantic shoreline will provide the perfect backdrop to the world’s best as they do battle in one of the most eye-catching arenas in the world.

The provisional schedule is as follows, with all times local. Please note, times may change, so please check the website for further details on the day:

Thursday, April 5
08:00 // National Class
08:25 // CSI2* 1.10/1.15m (€1.500)
10:00 // CSI2* 1.25m (€2.500)
11:45 // CSI2* 1.35/1.40m (€3.500)
13:30 // CSI5* 1.45m (€25.500)
16:30 // CSI5* 1.50/1.55m GCL of Miami Beach Round One – (€93.000 to individual class winners)

Friday, April 6
08:00 // CSI2* 1.30m (€5.000)
10:00 // CSI2* 1.15m (€3.000)
11:35 // National Class
12:20 // CSI2* 1.45m (€4.500)
14:00 // CSI5* 1.45m (€25.000)
16:40 // CSI5* 1.45/1.50m (€93.000)

Saturday, April 7
08:00 // CSI2* 1.15m (€2.000)
09:10 // National Class
10:00 // CSI2* 1.30m (€4.000)
11:45 // CSI2* Final 1.45m (€25.000)
14:00 // CSI5* GCL Miami Beach Final – 1.55/1.60m (€93.000 to individual winners)
17:15 // CSI5* Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Miami Beach – 1.60m (€300.000)

Where can I watch it?

All of the CSI5* rounds will be streamed live on GC TV featuring exclusive studio interviews, expert commentary and, of course, all of the action from the arena. Selected CSI5* classes will also be streamed via Facebook live.

What does this all mean?

Each Longines Global Champions Tour and GCL event can be separated into two categories — CSI5* and CSI2* classes. The CSI5* is the top level competition, where the top ranked riders in the world will compete for the highest prize money and over the biggest fences — up to 1.60m, which is the highest in the sport. The CSI2* classes are slightly smaller in height, and offer opportunities for many local athletes as well as international rising stars.

The GCL is the team competition, where riders unite like never before to compete for points in the overall championship. All roads lead to the innovative new GC Prague playoffs, which will see the top 16 teams compete in the ultimate showdown for the GCL Super Cup this December, so every point counts over the course of the championship calendar.

The Longines Global Champions Tour is the individual championship with the world’s best battling for the LGCT grand prix win. This offers the biggest prize money of the weekend and valuable championship ranking points. A win in a LGCT grand prix also qualifies an athlete to compete in the GC Prague playoffs, where the Longines Global Champions Super Grand Prix will take place. This will see the winners of each grand prix throughout the season return for a final locking of horns to see who will come out on top after another electric season on tour.

For more information on tickets and the location of LGCT Miami Beach, please click here.

Graphic courtesy of the GCL

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