The GCL teams on the starting grid for the 2021 season are announced today with top riders switching teams and new stars joining the fight for the coveted Championship.
In an intense off-season period, team owners, trainers and managers have been busy strengthening squads in a clear sign of how competitive the new season will be. 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.
It is a truly international field in the 2021 line up with riders from different countries uniting as teammates to face down their rivals to dominate the ranking and win a share of the overall season prize purse of € 25.9 million.
Headline moves for 2021, the 6th season of the thrilling GCL team series include:
--> Olympic Gold Medalist Eric Lamaze joins the roster of Cascais Charms
--> Popular Dutch Champion Frank Schuttert transfers to Scandinavian Vikings
→ Hungry for success the Cannes Stars sign European Gold Medalist Cian O'Connor and LGCT Grand Prix of Paris Champion Sameh El Dahan
→ Shanghai Swans pick up German maestro Christian Ahlmann to boost their firepower
→ Jane Richard Philips switches from Cannes Stars to Berlin Eagles
--> The Prague Lions field Leopold van Asten for the competitive 2021 season
There will be drama and emotion all season in the high stakes championship. With safety the number one priority, Global Champions continues to work closely with National Governments, local authorities and the FEI governing body to ensure the events follow strict protocols under the COVID-19 regulations.
Every team will field a U25 rider as part of GCL’s commitment to the development of talented youth at the top level of show jumping. This year's power-packed GCL sees 76% of athletes (excluding the U25 competitors) ranked in the top 250* in the world, including 23 out of the top 30 riders.
London Knights, winners of the intense 2019 GCL Championship battle, keep their strong line up with Olympic Gold Medalist Ben Maher alongside Olivier Philippaerts, Nicola Philippaerts, World No.2 Martin Fuchs, Cameron Hanley and U25 talent Emily Moffitt.
Shanghai Swans, champions of the breathtaking GCL Super Cup in 2019, are determined to put up a strong challenge with a top new signing reinforcing their squad. Christian Ahlmann will join Pius Schwizer, Max Kühner, Margie Goldstein-Engle, Alexandra Thornton and young US talent Lucas Porter.
GCL kicks off in Doha in just five weeks where the teams will be challenged in a variety of testing tracks with fans around the world set to enjoy another highly-charged season unfolding at incredible destinations.
The individual championship of the Longines Global Champions Tour will again deliver fantastic top sport with the winners of each LGCT Grand Prix booking a place in the LGCT Super Grand Prix with a €1.25M purse. And this season Tops International Arena will host eight events that will range from young horse classes, including Global Future Champions all the way up to CSI5*.
Jan Tops, President of the LGCT and GCL, said: “We are delighted to announce the exciting line up of 16 teams for the new season of GCL. Once again it will take exceptional team performances to win the GCL Finals and the GCL Super Cup and the incredible prize money on offer. With fantastic U25 talent in the GCL we continue giving young riders the opportunity to shine at our unique world class venues.
“We are committed to supporting show jumping in every possible way we can with LGCT, GCL and TIA events through these difficult times and I would like to personally thank Longines, our long-time Title Partner and Official Timekeeper of the Longines Global Champions Tour. We are working with national Governments and all relevant authorities to implement Covid-19 guidelines for health and the safety of everyone connected with our events.
“Despite these challenging times, we want to offer our fans the best in show jumping and this season GCTV will deliver new features using the latest technology to enrich the viewing experience.”
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 world-wide. GCTV will offer multi-language commentary, full replays of all classes on-demand and personalised reminders about favourite riders, teams or events - so fans will never miss a key round.
Team spirit, team tactics and the strongest combinations are what’s needed to win. Only the top teams will survive the ultimate showdown in the GCL Super Cup at the GC Prague Playoffs where a stunning €6 million will be up for grabs in just one weekend.
Fasten your seat belts for another turbo-charged GCL season!
For the full line up please click here.
*as per the official Longines FEI ranking on 31st December 2020, according to the GCL rules.