The Grand Prix series continues with the Trophée de France. Last season, the competition held in Bordeaux was cancelled midway due to a terrorist attack that killed over 200 people in Paris. The competition was moved to the capital city this year. A number of withdrawals were made, most notably was Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland of Great Britain in September due to injury.
Analysis: World Champion Javier Fernandez of Spain looks to get an automatic birth to the GP Final next month. He came back to skate clean in the free program to win at last weekend’s Rostelecom Cup in Moscow. His main competition will be from Denis Ten of Kazakhstan, who makes his GP debut this weekend. Ten had to withdraw from Skate America last month due to injury. American Adam Rippon also figures into the podium discussion. He’s coming off a 3rd place finish at Skate America. The other skater who looks to grab a spot is Japan’s Takahito Mura. He’s coming off a disappointing 8th place finish at Skate Canada.
Skaters to Watch: Uzbekistan’s Misha Ge finished 6th at Skate Canada and is currently ranked 17th in the ISU standings. Nathan Chen of Canada makes his GP senior debut at this event. He was undefeated in Junior GP competitions last season and won Finlandia Trophy in early September. France’s Chafik Besseghier is the lone entrant this weekend for the country and was 8th at Skate America last month. Belgium’s Jorik Hendrickx enters as a last minute replacement.
1. Javier Fernandez (ESP)
2. Nathan Chen (CAN)
3. Denis Ten (KAZ)
Analysis: Russia’s Evgenia Medvedeva can also punch her ticket to the GP Final this weekend. She took gold at Skate Canada last month. American Gracie Gold could stop her win streak, having finished 5th in a competitive field. Japan’s Mao Asada also looks to improve on her programs after finishing 6th at Skate America. Russia’s Maria Sotskova may be the skater to watch this weekend. She’s skating in her first senior grand prix event, and finished 5th at Russian Nationals last year.
Skaters to Watch: Japan and Russia has chances to sweep the podium, although it’s an outside chance. Former World Silver medalist Alena Leonova has skated in the Grand Prix Final before, but hasn’t placed in a GP event since 2012. Yuka Nagai finished 11th at Skate America last year and Wakaba Higuchi will skate in her first senior GP competition. France’s Maé-Bérénice Méité is one of two skaters hoping to make the podium this weekend.
1. Evgenia Medvedeva (RUS)
2. Maria Sotskova (RUS)
3. Gracie Gold (USA)
Analysis: Only six teams skating this weekend. At the top of the list are home favorites, Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès, who are currently 7th in the ISU World standings and finished 4th at Skate America last month. Germany’s Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot won last weekend’s Rostelecom Cup and look to make it two in a row and an automatic bid to the final. Two Russian teams look to make the podium. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov took 3rd at Skate America last month and Natalja Zabijako and Alexander Enbert took second last week in Moscow.
Skaters to Watch: The other two teams will look to improve their standings and have an outside chance to make the podium. Americans Marissa Castelli and Mervin Tran finished 7th at Skate America. Austria’s Miriam Ziegler and Severin Kiefer make their GP season debut this weekend. They finished 8th at last year’s competition in Bordeaux.
1. Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès (FRA)
2. Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot (GER)
3. Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov (RUS)
Analysis: The home crowd will be buzzing, as two-time world champs Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron make their long awaited return to the Grand Prix series. The couple missed the first half of the season, as Papadakis was recovering from an injury. The favorites will have to fight off two North American teams. Canada’s Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier picked up bronze and have been consistent the last two years. Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue are looking for their second straight trip to the final after finishing 2nd at Skate America. Russians Elena Ilinykh and Ruslan Zhiganshin finished 5th at last month’s Skate America.
Skaters to Watch: Israel’s Isabella Tobias and Ilia Tkachenko will attempt to win the first podium spot in Ice Dance. They were 6th in Chicago at Skate America. Two teams from France make their senior debut this weekend. Lorenza Alessandrini & Pierre Souquet and Marie-Jade Lauriault & Romain Le Gac will look to surprise the judges.
1. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron (FRA)
2. Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier (CAN)
3. Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (USA