By Ben Church, CNN

Gladiators of the Longines Global Champions Tour (LGCT) will unite this week in Rome as showjumping's most prestigious competition returns to action.

With just three events left of the regular season, some of the world's top riders will be jostling for position at the breathtaking Stadio dei Marmi venue.

Standings leader Pieter Devos will be looking to build on his slender advantage in his bid to clinch his first overall title, but he has reigning champion Ben Maher snapping at his heels.

The Briton is just 14 points behind Devos and will be confident going into this weekend having won this leg of the tour last year.

In addition, both will have competition from German rider Daniel Deusser who, along with fellow countrymen Marcus Ehning, is in striking distance of the top.

"Many top riders will be present so it is impossible to forecast a possible winner as the technical level is very high and all the riders will fight for the win," explained LGCT sport director Marco Danese.

There is also plenty still to play for in the race for the Global Champions League team event.

London Knights and St. Tropez Pirates share the lead at the top of the standings with Shanghai Swans just 12 points behind, with Miami Celtics a further two points adrift.

The event in Rome will be free to attend, allowing spectators to enjoy a taste of elite equestrian sport while soaking in the array of historical monuments dotting the Italian capital's iconic streets.

It will be the fifth year in a row that the Rome leg of the tour will be held at the Stadio dei Marmi, a gladiatorial-style arena ringed by 59 classical marble statues and just a stone's throw from the majestic Olympic Stadium.

"It is a great event for our city," said Daniele Frongia, councillor for sport and major events in Rome.

"This is high level sport and we are proud to host this event. It will be a great festive occasion for Rome and we would like to thank the organisers."

The Global Champions Tour features 19 worldwide stops and culminates in the Prague Playoffs from November 21-24.