Top sport. Intense rivalry. Drama and emotion all season. Are you ready for the 2022 GCL battle to begin?
After a busy off-season of team transfers, new signings and renewed contracts the 2022 GCL starting grid has shaped up to be one of the most competitive line-ups in the history of GCL. All 16 teams have now confirmed their squad of six riders and the huge surprises and exciting new faces can be announced today.
Ahead of the first event of the year in Doha, Qatar 3 - 5 March 2022, last year’s champions Valkenswaard United have secured show jumping legend John Whitaker, America superstar Laura Kraut and Germany's Maurice Tebbel to join Edwina Tops-Alexander, Marcus Ehning and U25 rider Gilles Thomas on their roster.
In the fight for the coveted Championship a brand new team, Stockholm Hearts Powered by H&M We Love Horses look very strong on paper. All four H&M riders, current world number one Peder Fredricson, Swedish sensation Malin Baryard-Johnsson and 2021 GCL Super Cup winners Nicola and Olivier Philippaerts will feature alongside young talent USA’s Lillie Keenan and U25 rider Lily Attwood.
Speaking about their powerful 2022 line up Olivier Philippaerts said: "I’ve been lucky to be part of a very good team the last couple of years and now I think it was time for a change. I think to be part of the new team with world number 1 sounds very exciting for the upcoming season. We have a very strong team to be very honest I really think Lily Attwood is one of the best under 25 riders in Europe."
As teams battle for glory, their sights will be fixed on victory at the high stakes GCL Finals and GCL Super Cup at the GC Prague Playoffs. Headline statistics for the 2022 line-up include:
--> 21 riders have moved teams
--> Highest ever number of female riders in the line-up
--> 35 new names in the starting grid
--> 3 new teams
Paris Panthers have confirmed one of the biggest transfers with Ben Maher joining their squad alongside Nayel Nassar, Gregory Wathelet, Harrie Smolders, Darragh Kenny and a new face to GCL U25 rider Ioli Mytilineou.
Team manager Rob Hoekstra commented: “Well I mean obviously Ben is the Olympic champion so I'm super delighted that he's part of our team. Of course, it's going to strengthen our team he's one of the top rider combinations in the world at the moment with Explosion and several other very very good horses. We had been watching Ioli and obviously the Europeans really put her in the frame and then we had some contact with her towards the end of last year."
Powered by Lugano Diamonds, New York Empire look to be title contenders this year after signing up current U25 world number one Harry Charles and his exceptional string of horsepower alongside Georgina Bloomberg, Scott Brash, Denis Lynch, Spencer Smith and Jodie Hall Mcateer.
After looking into placings and statistic ahead of the thrilling new season Sam Watson from Equiratings explained: “There’s a huge amount of talent this year. The U25s is not just about uncovering some rough diamonds, we are actually talking about bringing in some real superstars this year. There is one huge world class combination in Brian Moggre with Balou du Reventon who have been signed up by Prague Lions and I think they’ll really hold their own in this division."
Rome Galidators make their return to GCL this year aiming to improve on their top 4 finish in 2018 while Istanbul Sultans form a completely new team to the series for 2022 widening the international field of riders event further.
Fans around the world will be able to watch all the sporting drama unfold on GCTV which will continue to innovate with new graphics and technology taking fans backstage with the stars at the extraordinary events worldwide including multi-language commentary.
With under a month to go until the season kick-off, tension and anticipation is rising among riders, team owners and managers so fasten your seat belts for another turbo-charged GCL season!
Today’s news was announced exclusively on GCTV during a special episode of The Insider where hosts, commentator Frederik de Backer and GCTV anchor Marc Lewis, discussed in depth all the changes. In the studio, they were joined by top riders Olivier Philippaerts, Max Kühner from Shanghai Swans and Rome Gladiators' Sanne Thijssen along with Paris Panthers team manager Rob Hoekstra and statistics specialist Sam Watson who all gave their opinions on the new teams and how they think the season will play out.