he Longines Global Champions Tour will touch down in some of the world’s greatest cities in 2014 – including Paris, Shanghai and London – launching the most spectacular season to date for the world’s premier show jumping series.
This year, exciting new events will take place at the Eiffel Tower in Paris, in dynamic Shanghai, China and the diamond city of Antwerp, Belgium – with the London event staged at one of the city’s most famous landmarks, Horse Guards Parade Ground.
The best riders and horses in the world of show jumping will take part in 14 events from April to November leading up to the championship series climax at Al Shaqab in Doha, Qatar. The ninth season of the world’s most prestigious show jumping series will bring the most thrilling equestrian events to fans across the world.
The 2014 season will be packed with some of the most celebrated riders in the sport, including World Number One and 2013 LGCT Champion Scott Brash, four-time Olympic Gold medalist Ludger Beerbaum, World Cup Final winners Christian Ahlmann and Beezie Madden, two-time Olympic Silver medalist Gerco Schröder, European Champions Rolf-Göran Bengtsson and Roger-Yves Bost, two-time LGCT Champion Edwina Tops-Alexander and World Championship Silver medalists Laura Kraut and Pénélope Leprevost.
2013 Champion Scott Brash said: “This is a fantastic series for riders who come to all these fantastic cities around the world and jump for very good prize money. It is great for owners and sponsors and all those people who watch. You have to be at the top of your game, the level of the sport is going higher and higher.”
This year’s series, partnered with Official Title Sponsor and Timekeeper Longines, is set to deliver more breathtaking equestrian sport, where precision and excellence take centre stage. The bar was raised yet again during the 2013 season when different riders won each leg and the most electrifying Grand Prix jump-offs were witnessed by millions of fans on TV and online around the world.
The Tour’s hugely popular and entertaining GCT TV live streaming, prestige shopping villages and world-class VIP hospitality will once again be featured at every event. The highest prize money in any equestrian series will intensify the competition. In addition €1 million will be split between the top 18 at the final leg.
The season kicks off in the diamond city of Antwerp from 24-27 April in a dramatic port setting. Antwerp is renowned around the globe for its diamond trade, as a major global port and as a rising fashion city. This exciting new destination in the international calendar, where the historic port cranes will tower over the arena, will provide an early look at the form of the top ranked riders competing in the championship.
The vibrant Spanish capital city of Madrid will be the stage for the Tour’s 2nd leg at the sophisticated Club de Campo Villa de Madrid from 2-4 May. Hamburg, Germany, where over 81,000 fans witnessed the event last year, will be the next stop from 29 May – 1 June.
Shanghai, China, will debut on the Longines Global Champions Tour circuit from 6-8 June during the Chinese Year of the Horse. Known as the ‘Paris of the East’ Shanghai is one of the world’s most dynamic cities, with its gravity-defying skyscrapers and bustling Bund. The highest level of show jumping will unfold at the China Pavilion in Shanghai’s World Expo Park where riders will do battle in a dramatic floodlit outdoor arena.
During June, show jumping’s ‘Formula One’ will pit-stop on the French Riviera for the enormously popular events in Cannes from 12-14 June and Monte-Carlo from 26-28 June. The yacht harbours of these beautiful Riviera destinations will once again attract the best in show jumping.
Paris, one of the world’s most iconic capital cities, will be the extraordinary stage for the 7th leg of the series from 4-6 July. Show jumping in front of the world famous Eiffel Tower in the beautiful surroundings of the Champ de Mars close to the banks of the River Seine. Paris’ first appearance on the circuit is a milestone in the Tour’s expansion.
With the race for the Championship hotting up, the Tour moves to the beautiful Portuguese Riviera of Cascais, Estoril from 10-12 July. On the shores of the Atlantic Ocean, this fabulous resort has a lively atmosphere and is always popular among riders, spectators and viewers. Chic and sophisticated Chantilly, from 25-27 July, offers spectacular views of the legendary Chateau and delivers a great weekend of top equestrian sport. Alongside the famous racecourse, Chantilly forms one of the most photographed backdrops of any equestrian event.
With everything to play for in the Championship, the series returns to its spiritual home in Valkenswaard, The Netherlands, from 1-3 August where Tour Founder and President Jan Tops is based.
Pioneering equestrian events in the heart of capital cities have become a hallmark of the Tour. From 14-16 August London will be centre stage. The iconic Horse Guards Parade Ground, with views of Buckingham Palace and the London Eye, will be the sensational 11th leg of the circuit.
Lausanne, Switzerland, (12-14 September) on the shores of Lake Geneva and historic Vienna, Austria (18-21 September) are sure to be hotly contested as riders jostle for ranking points before the final leg. The state-of-the-art Al Shaqab in Qatar’s capital, Doha,will for the second year running host the Championship Final. From 13-15 November this grand stage, part of the renowned Qatar Foundation, will witness the run up to an explosive finale for 2014.
Jan Tops, Longines Global Champions Tour President, said: “2014 represents a groundbreaking year with our events staged in some of the great cities of the world. We always aim to raise show jumping to higher levels and to attract more fans to this great sport. This season is set to be another landmark in the evolution of equestrian sport for riders, spectators, sponsors and most importantly for our fans worldwide.”
Walter von Känel, President of Longines, said: “We are very proud to have given our name to this prestigious show jumping series that truly represents our slogan “Elegance is an attitude”. Our brand has a long history in timing equestrian sports and it is a great honour to bring our expertise to the Longines Global Champions Tour competitions.”
Editor’s Note: The Longines Global Champions Tour was founded in 2006 by Dutch Olympic Team Gold medallist Jan Tops. The series attracts the top ranked riders in the world who compete for ranking points and the highest prize money in the sport. World-class sport in breathtaking locations has become the hallmark of the Longines Global Champions Tour experience. All of the 2014 season’s exciting Grand Prix action will be broadcast on Eurosport and can be viewed live via GCT TV at globalchampionstour.com.
Source: Global Champions Tour Press Release