This weekend’s Longines Global Champions Tour of Cannes looks set to be another stunning showcase of world class sport with a formidable field of eight out of the world’s Top 10 poised to dazzle in Cannes for the 8th stage of the 2016 season . The star-studded line-up of top athletes features home rider and World Number 2 Simon Delestre (FRA) leading the way with compatriot, World Number 4 and last year’s LGCT Grand Prix of Cannes winner Pénélope Leprevost (FRA) back once more to do battle in the high adrenaline setting. Joining them will be leading French riders, World Number 7 Kevin Staut (FRA) and Roger-Yves Bost (FRA), promising strong competition from the local heroes as the Tour gallops past its mid-way mark.
One of the stand out features of the Longines Global Champions Tour series is the unique mix of locations and diversity of competition set up. Following the galloping grass arenas of Mexico City, Hamburg, Madrid and Chantilly, the leading horse and rider combinations will face a new challenge with the intimate LGCT Cannes sand arena, measuring 75m x 55m in total, best suited to horses quick on their feet and agile in their turns.
It will be a glittering concentration of show jumping talent, as World Number 5 Scott Brash (GBR) will also be in action, joined by fellow top ten riders; World Number 8 Gregory Wathelet (BEL), World Number 9 Daniel Deusser (GER) and World Number 10 Bertram Allen (IRL), all of whom will be looking to take gold in the LGCT Grand Prix of Cannes which kicks off at 17:30 local time on Saturday 11th June.
LGCT Ranking leader and World Number 3 Christian Ahlmann (GER) continues his consecutive run of LGCT events, and will hope to extend his lead of the overall rankings. Currently, Christian Ahlmann (GER), the ever-consistent, ever-professional ‘Mercedes’ as he was described in a recent press conference, is leading the LGCT overall rankings on a tally of 186 points – the top German rider has been one of the most consistent athletes on the Tour, scoring a minimum of 25 points at all but one of the seven legs so far.
Hot on his heels and heading to the beautiful backdrop of Cannes is compatriot Ludger Beerbaum (GER), who has won two out of the four LGCT Grands Prix he has competed in this season. His first was a sensational win on home turf in Hamburg, with the relatively new horse Casello – one that has been in his stables only since the beginning of the year. Ludger then wowed the crowds in Chantilly after another stunning performance, this time with his top mare, the grey Chiara 222, which saw him claim the Grand Prix win and shoot up the LGCT rankings to 2nd overall with a total of 126 points so far.
It promises to be another exhilarating ‘edge-of-the-seat’ weekend, as just one point behind on 125 sits the legendary Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE). The ever-consistent combination of Rolf and his formidable stallion Casall ASK have ensured the pair collected plenty of points in four of the six events Rolf has competed in this season so far. Hungry for a Grand Prix win, and with a history of success in the Cannes events, Rolf will undoubtably be bringing out the big guns as we move into the second half of the season.
More top names looking to improve on their overall LGCT Ranking positions are John Whitaker (GBR), Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS), Emanuele Gaudiano (ITA), Harrie Smolders (NED) and Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani (QAT) – all of whom currently sit in the top ten. After a strong showing in Chantilly, 2015 LGCT Champion of Champions Luciana Diniz (POR) will be back in action, and with names such as Meredith Michaels-Beerbaum (GER), Laura Kraut (USA), Lauren Hough (USA), Rodrigo Pessoa (BRA), Marcus Ehning (GER), Jessica Springsteen (USA), Ben Maher (GBR), Maikel van der Vleuten (NED), Pius Schwizer (SUI), Roger-Yves Bost (FRA) and Marco Kutscher (GER) it’s set to be another phenomenal weekend of top sport and entertainment.
Only 50m from the world-famous La Croisette, the Cannes event is a special combination of glamour and top-class sport held from the 9th – 11th June. Positioned close to the Mediterranean Port of Cannes and the super-yachts in the bay, the 8th round of the Tour is a very special horse show in the heart of the French Riviera. Now a regular fixture on the Longines Global Champions Tour calendar, the show has grown every year and welcomes over 15,000 visitors though its gates each summer.
Drawn by the incredible level of sport on offer and the collection of international show jumping stars in attendance (as well as a few famous faces from other walks of life – last year LGCT Cannes welcomed actor Guillaume Canet and royalty Charlotte Casiraghi to the event), visitors enjoy the ambience, glamour and nightlife of this famous city, home of course to the dazzling Cannes Film Festival.
The Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Cannes will be broadcast Live on Eurosport, with coverage of all the CSI5* events via the GCT TV online streaming platform. The Global Champions League team competition will follow the Grand Prix directly on Saturday 11th June, with the first round starting at 22:00 local time. Home team, the Cannes Stars, will undoubtably be looking to capitalise on their recent podium success in front of the home crowd, and as the season gallops past it’s midway point, the stakes are raised in the battle for the overall Championship.
To view the full riders & horses’ list, click here.
Press Release by : LGCT
Photo Credit : Stefano Grasso / LGCT