Ireland’s Bertram Allen looks set for a lucrative weekend as the Global Champions Tour moves to Doha for what will be the deciding event in this year’s competition.

Although the Irish rider can’t win the individual crown outright, he is assured of finishing high in the standings. “I can’t wait to get to Doha,” he comments. “The Final will be intense and I look forward to competing.”

Allen is in fourth position in the Tour rankings, and could improve to third if things go well this week, but he is too far behind the leading two riders to have a chance of finishing any higher. The leading two are Sweden’s Rolf-Goran Bengtsson and Australian Edwina Tops-Alexander, with the Swede just five points in front. Both have considerable daylight between them and the rest of the competitors, even third-placed Christian Ahlmann of Germany.

However the Irish rider has a second agenda at the Doha venue, with a good chance of outright victory in the GCT parallel event, the Global Champions League, which also concludes at the Qatari venue this weekend.

In what has been the inaugural year for the team event, Allen’s Valkenswaard United head the standings coming into the final contest, and a good showing this weekend would see them crowned champions.

One of Allen’s team-mates for Valkenswaard is Great Britain’s John Whitaker, and the Irish rider appreciates the opportunity the GCL affords to riders of  different nationalities to join forces in top-level competition. “I’ll be teaming up with John again for Valkenswaard United, and as I’ve said before it’s a real honour and privilege to be competing on the same team as him. He’s a legend, and it’s not something I’d ever have had the opportunity to do without the League.”

Allen and Whitaker will represent Valkenswaard on this occasion, while team member Emily Moffitt of the USA will also be on hand to step into action if required. The fourth member of the Valkenswaard squad, Brazilian Eduardo Menezes will not be at this event, while Italian Alberto Zorzi, who contributed in no small measure to the team’s success earlier in the campaign, has since transferred to Madrid In Motion.

Valkenswaard’s nearest rivals are Antwerp Diamonds, for whom Dutch rider Harrie Smolders and Belgian Jos Verlooy will line out in Doha. Monaco Aces are the only other one of the twelve teams involved who have a realistic chance of taking the crown at this late stage. They will be represented by Maikel van der Vleuten of the Netherlands and Colombian Daniel Bluman.

The Global Champions Tour Final takes place on Saturday, with the League (Team) Final being held on Thursday.

Mike Dunne