Anticipation builds ahead LGCT final in Doha.
The big moment is nearly upon us. The 2015 Longines Global Champions Tour, after taking us all over the world throughout the season, is nearing the final stage.
This weekend, the Al Shaqab Equestrian Centre in Doha, Qatar opens its doors to welcome 26 of the 30 best riders in the world who will be on display for the prestigious event created by Jan Tops.
Three are in line for the crown and the stakes couldn’t be higher: 450.000€ for the winner of the leg as well as the 1 million euros bonus for the 2015 tour winner.
Let’s start our analysis of the title hopefuls with the world number one in the world rankings and the man who made history by winning the Rolex Grand Slam with Hello Sanctos: Scott Brash.
The Scottish rider arrives leading the overall standings and is looking to make it a hat-trick of wins after riding to glory in 2013 and 2014.
To make his dream come true, he has to get a top-five finish and come ahead of his direct rival Luciana Diniz.
The Portuguese horsewoman is hot on the heels of Brash after a string of positive results over the course of the season.
Miss Consistent is no stranger to wins on the tour this season either and for this reason is one of the main pretenders for the 2015 title. For Diniz to make that a reality, she will have to finish in the top-five and ahead of Brash.
Two is company… three is a crowd. Looking to spoil the party is Rolf-Goran Bengtsson also in with a shout.
The Swedish rider has hit good form in the closing stages of the season, but his chances are also heavily in the hands of others.
Bengtsson has to not only win in Qatar (just like he did last year) but hope that Scott Brash and Luciana Diniz don’t finish in the top-four.
In brief, if the aforementioned duo finish in the top-three it’s all over for Bengtsson, but just like last year, it could be the results over the course of the season that decide the title.
This year more than ever it’s all to play for. A proud Jan Tops said the following at the press conference: “Last year it was the final rider who decided the season outcome, and we will have the same again this year which is quite exceptional. AL SHAQAB and Qatar are an incredible place; they are great for the sport, they have produced great Qatari riders and all the international riders enjoy coming here.“
The anticipation is rising as fans get set to watch the likes of Ludger Beerbaum, Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum and Daniel Deusser (GER), Lauren Hough (USA), Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Kevin Staut (FRA), Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) and Ben Maher (GBR).
It all gets going with the first two top-level competitions: a 1.45m in two rounds and a time trial over 1.50m. CLICK HERE FOR MORE: http://www.globalchampionstour.com/gct-live/
Photo: Stefano Grasso / LGCT