18-21 September 2014
- 18-21 September 2014
Championship favourites Beerbaum and Brash bring the big guns to Vienna
Release date: 16/09/2014
(Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT)
Vienna, the penultimate leg of the hotly contested 2014 Championship is fast approaching and with it the last opportunity for the world’s best riders to capture precious LGCT points ahead of the final leg in Doha in November. German show jumping legend Ludger Beerbaum took over the Championship lead from Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) in Lausanne last weekend - the four-time Olympic Gold medallist rose to the number one spot on the LGCT ranking for the first time in his career.
On the shores of Lake Geneva, in a truly classic battle of the titans, Beerbaum, 51, took on British hero John Whitaker, 59, in a jump-off reminiscent of days gone by - it was evident that these two sportsmen still have what it takes to compete with riders half their age at the very highest level, as the pair pushed Argentina’s José Maria Larocca and recent Dutch World Championship Team Gold medallist Gerco Schröder into 3rd and 4th.
On clinching victory, Beerbaum was clearly thrilled to claim only his second-ever LGCT Grand Prix win. After a slightly disappointing World Championships, on this occasion the usually stoic German was all smiles as he confessed to the press he felt he had ridden three near perfect rounds with his stallion Chaman. Beerbaum is executing a perfect plan of attack - 4th in Chantilly, 3rd in Valkenswaard, 2nd in London and now 1st in Lausanne. His only concern might be that he has peaked too soon and put his nose in front a little early.
Though only 2nd placed Bengtsson is capable of retaking the lead in Vienna, any of the supremely talented riders lying in 3rd-5th on the ranking - Henrik von Eckermann (SWE), Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) and Bassem Hassan Mohammed (QAT) - could still take the overall Championship in Doha. But it’s 2013 LGCT Champion Britain’s Scott Brash in 6th, who has only five of a possible seven results counting, who could continue his incredible charge up the leaderboard with two more strong finishes, just as he did last year.
Brash has amassed a record-breaking three Grand Prix wins this season in Cannes, Estoril and London plus a 3rd place in Hamburg. King of cool and master of the flying finish, the World No1 could be Beerbaum’s biggest rival for the Championship title. In a fascinating battle of the legendary old guard taking on the fresh young stars, Vienna will be a crucial round for both Beerbaum and Brash, and each will be bringing their top gun - Chaman and Hello Sanctos - to the battle.
Watch the Longines Global Champions Tour of Vienna Grand Prix this Saturday live on GCT TV from 6.30pm CEST and on Eurosport from 9pm CEST.