(Photo: Stefano Grasso/LGCT)
The Longines Global Champions Tour Championship race could not be closer this year as we head into the dramatic final five stages of the 14-leg season. The 2012 and 2011 Champion Edwina Tops-Alexander (AUS) has been a force to be reckoned with at the top of the table with 201 points, having maintained a healthy Championship lead since round three in Hamburg back in May. Tops-Alexander had an excellent start to the season, placing in the top five of three of the first five Grand Prix, including capturing a Silver medal in Shanghai.
But the two-time Champ is under attack from none other than her 2012 rival and runner-up Rolf-Göran Bengtsson (SWE) who has 194 points. The Swede has been on fantastic form since the very start of the season where he took a Silver medal in Antwerp, one of his first major results since returning to the saddle after a winter break due to injury. Bengtsson’s incredible 15-year-old stallion Casall ASK has jumped like a star through the season helping the pair to collect three podium finishes so far, including a triumphant win in Chantilly last weekend.
Round Ten is next up and it’s hosted by the spiritual home of the Tour – Valkenswaard – in a few days time. Both Bengtsson and Tops-Alexander are confirmed to compete and with just seven points separating them on the Championship table, every placing counts. Luckily for Bengtsson, he has six Grand Prix results counting so far of the possible seven, whereas Tops-Alexander has reached her maximum. From this point, the Australian No1 will have to remove a result and the associated points in order for another, better result to count. The Dutch leg of the Tour is where Bengtsson could really make this year’s Championship his own after coming so close to victory two years ago.
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