As the 2017 LGCT Champion of Champions battle rockets up a gear, fierce rivalry, top sport and big expectations will be at the forefront of everyone’s mind as the best of the best head to Cascais, Portugal, and Round 9 of the 15-event Longines Global Champions Tour.
With “consistency” the key word for current LGCT Ranking leader Harrie Smolders (NED), all eyes will be on the flying Dutchman as he heads to Cascais to see if he can extend his points tally of 185. The Dutch star has a unique opportunity this weekend, as second place man, Christian Ahlmann (GER) will not be in the picturesque location, meaning Smolders will have the chance to widen his five gap lead.
Less than a Grand Prix win away is Italy’s Alberto Zorzi (ITA) who will be at the Hipódromo Manuel Possolo featuring a stunning grass arena, with the in-form rider fiercely hungry to shoot back up the leaderboard. But as with every event on Tour, the battle for the prestigious Grand Prix win will be one of the toughest challenges in the sport, as the planet’s top athletes come together for the world’s premier show jumping series. Turning up the temperatures will be Scott Brash (GBR), Marcus Ehning (GER), Bertram Allen (IRL), Ben Maher (GBR), Cian O’Connor (IRL), Simon Delestre (FRA), Roger-Yves Bost (FRA), Henrik von Eckermann (SWE) and Marco Kutscher (GER) – just some of the stars of show jumping who will be fighting hard to claim the highly sought-after Cascais win.
One of the most popular events on the Tour amongst riders, the lively coastal town of Cascais near Estoril, Portugal, plays host to the Longines Global Champions Tour for the 12th year running, from the 7th – 8th July 2017. Cascais has grown into a renowned international destination for world-class sport, hosting the America’s Cup sailing, golf, tennis, surfing and motorsports. With it’s warm climate, visitors flock to the coast to soak up the sun and enjoy the great landscape and attractions, including the beautiful sandy bay of Praia de Tamariz.
Cascais became the summer destination of choice for Portuguese nobility in the 1900s – it has since become a lively international beach resort. Down the road, Estoril’s famous casino is thought to be where Ian Fleming came up with the idea for Casino Royale, as he stalked Yugoslav double agent Dusko Popov at its tables. In Portugal there are palaces, museums and national parks to visit and the capital city, Lisbon, is only a short distance away with its top-class hotels, restaurants and bars.
The stars will come out under the evening lights, with some familiar names taking part in the two-day show. Home hero and former LGCT Champion Luciana Diniz (POR) will be back for this leg of the Tour, joining the likes of Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA), Georgina Bloomberg (USA), Gregory Wathelet (BEL), Julien Epaillard (FRA), Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT), Martin Fuchs (SUI), Sergio Alvarez Moya (ESP), David Will (GER), Jane Richard Philips (SUI), Maikel van der Vleuten (NED) and Jos Verlooy (BEL), to name just a few.
All the action will kick off this Friday, 7th July, with coverage on GCT TV featuring all the action, expert commentary, exclusive studio interviews and behind the scenes features. The LGCT Grand Prix of Cascais is sure to be an exciting event, as riders fight for supremacy in the overall 2017 Championship Ranking.
For the full rider list, please click here.
Edited press release: Global Champions Tour