Photo: GCL / Stefano Grasso
Round eight of the Global Champions League sees home city team Paris Panthers vying for a powerful performance straight out of the starting blocks. In an earlier interview, Panthers rider Jack Hardin Towell said: “I hope we’re going to start strong!”
The iconic Eiffel Tower will provide the picture-perfect backdrop as the Championship battle hots up, with an expected crowd of over 50,000 people coming to watch the teams battle out for valuable ranking points. Paris Panthers U25 rider Jennifer Gates said: “We’re so proud and lucky to be able to represent Paris. We’ll do our very best to make [the home fans] proud this week. We’re thrilled to be here.” Teammate Darragh Kenny agreed, picking up on the positive vibes from the crowd at this popular event: “This show always has a huge atmosphere and they’ll be behind us a little more than the others. It’s going to be really fun.”
The battle for the Championship could not be more fierce, with the leading teams all fielding heavy-weight duos to tactically put them in the top position. Current leaders Valkenswaard United will bring out Bertram Allen and Alberto Zorzi, with the formidable pair teaming up to try to extend their slim eight point lead. Nipping at their heels are the Hamburg Diamonds, who this weekend will bring out Harrie Smolders and Audrey Coulter - the same experienced combination who won the GCL of Paris in 2016. Just three points behind them are the St Tropez Pirates, who will be hoping it’s third time lucky as they field the consistent duo of Simon Delestre and Jérôme Guery, both looking for redemption following their recent down-to-the-wire results in Cannes and Monaco.
Home team Paris Panthers will bring out their GCL Shanghai winning combination of Jack Hardin Towell and Darragh Kenny, with the Irish star previously finding success at the venue during the Longines Global Champions Tour Grand Prix of Paris. French fans will have plenty to cheer about, as Roger-Yves Bost makes an appearance for the Shanghai Swans alongside U25 rider Alexandra Thornton.
Other heavy-weight combinations to watch will be Cannes Stars duo of Ludger Beerbaum and Christian Kukuk, Madrid in Motion father and son combination of Eric and Maikel van der Vleuten, Rome Gladiators' Laura Kraut and Lorenzo de Luca, Chantilly Pegasus’ Lauren Hough and Sergio Alvarez Moya and Miami Glory’s Denis Lynch and Georgina Bloomberg. Keeping consistent will be the Doha Fursan Qatar team, with Bassem Hassan Mohammed and Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani taking up the reins, with the team in the added bonus position of being drawn last to go in the official draw today.
Paris, the 'City of Lights', will host the Global Champions League, marking the move into the second half of the season and battle for the Championship race. The eighth event on the calendar will be a unique sporting, social and cultural spectacular, set against the backdrop of one of the world's most iconic landmarks, the Eiffel Tower. One of the most visited cities in the world, Paris is brimming with famous attractions and landmarks, and also boasts a high concentration of national and international political, scientific and cultural institutions and has the largest business district in Europe. A legendary centre of fashion and haute couture tailoring, Paris Fashion Week is still the most celebrated event in the fashion world.
Christian Ahlmann will team up once more with U25 rider Evelina Tovek for the Mexico Amigos, while Monaco Aces will bring out the strong duo of Pieter Devos and Danielle Goldstein. The Berlin Lions will see an all Czech line up of Ales Opatrny and Anna Kellnerova, while the London Knights will field U25 star Emily Moffitt alongside Brazilian Eduardo Menezes. Vienna Eagles will be hoping to continue their run of success, with Niels Bruynseels back in action for the team, this time lining up with Emanuel Andrade. U25 rider Philip Houston will team up with the Cascais Charms’ most experienced rider, Carlos Lopez, and the Moscow Bears will see Mathilda Karlsson unite with Kamal Bahamdan for this leg of the Championship race.
The action kicks off Friday 30th June at 16:30 local time, with the first round of the Global Champions League of Paris. For the full team and rider list, please click here.