Longines Global Champions Tour and GCL set for 2019 opener in Doha

    All eyes on Doha for 2019 LGCT and GCL season kick-off.

    (CNN)The 2019 Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League is set to kick off this week at the stunning Al Shaqab in Doha, Qatar.

    Reigning LGCT champion Ben Maher will be back to defend his title after the rider list was announced for the first round of the showjumping's premier individual and team circuit.
    The British Olympian secured a record-breaking fourth LGCT Grand Prix win at Al Shaqab last November, but he will face tough opposition in 2019.
      Two-time LGCT champion and LGCT Super Grand Prix winner Edwina Tops-Alexander returns to a venue with good memories, while British Olympic gold medalist Scott Brash will also be in action.
      Al Shaqab in Doha, Qatar, will host this season's opener.
      German stars Daniel Deusser, Christian Ahlmann and Hans-Dieter Dreher will all be looking to perform, alongside international leaders such as Belgium's Nicola Philippaerts and France's Simon Delestre.
      Meanwhile, local heroes Sheikh Ali Bin Khalid Al Thani and Bassem Hassan Mohammed -- who won the LGCT Grand Prix of Doha in 2017 -- will be back on home ground and looking to start the season positively in front of their own spectators.
        The Longines Global Champions Tour and Global Champions League will take in a record 20 stops in 2019, including new venues New York, Montreal and Stockholm.
        The circuit culminates in the Global Champions Playoffs in Prague from November 21-24.