Monday, November 14, 2011

2011 Trophee Eric Bompard: Pairs Preview

This event is crucial for 2 teams that have a clear shot at making the Grand Prix Final and for one that has an outside chance of qualifying as an alternate. The pairs skate their short on Friday November 18th at 10:45 a.m. EST and their free on Saturday November 19th at 9:30 a.m. EST.
Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov (RUS)  were nothing if not fantastic at Skate Canada where they won by 20 points. The amount of chemistry they've built in such a short period of time is truly remarkable and they're certainly the favorite here. I'm giving Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov (RUS) another shot to skate to their potential before I write them off for the season. They're oh so soft and elegant, the perfect contrast to Volosozhar & Trankov, if they can hit their pair elements. Lately though, if on of them lands the jumps, the other falls, so they'll both need to hit here or they'll find themselves off the podium as they did earlier at Skate America. Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford (CAN) are a rising favorite for me. They do difficult technical elements and they're developing chemistry as a pair, but like every other North America pair, I hate to get invested because who knows how long they'll stay together. One North American pair that has stayed together is Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig (USA). They have two gorgeous programs this season, but they keep missing podiums by a hair because of falls on jumps and throws. I don't know how many times I have to say it, but if they could just hit, they'd be on every Grand Prix podium and probably top 5 or 6 at Worlds. Also, don't count out youngsters Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov (RUS) who debuted with an impressive 5th at 2010 Skate America and look to improve upon that with a year of senior experience under their belts. Jessica Dube & Sebastien Wolfe (CAN) are in their first season together and though they likely won't factor into the medals, they'll look to keep improving throughout the season.

My Podium Predictions:
1) Volosozhar & Trankov (RUS)
2) Bazarova & Larionov (RUS)
3) Duhamel & Radford (CAN)

Competitive History:

Vera Bazarova & Yuri Larionov (RUS)-5th at 2011 Skate America, 2nd 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 5th 2011 Worlds, 3rd 2011 Europeans, 5th 2010 Grand Prix Final, 2nd 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 2nd 2010 NHK Trophy, 1st 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 188.24 at 2011 Europeans

Huibo Dong & Yiming Wu (CHN)-14th 2011 Worlds, 10th 2011 Four Continents, 2nd 2011 Winter Universiade, 7th 2010 Cup of China, 7th 2010 Skate Canada; PB: 146.49 at 2009 Cup of China 

Jessica Dube & Sebastian Wolfe (CAN)-6th at 2011 Skate Canada, 6th 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, PB: 158.44 at 2011 Skate Canada 

Meagan Duhamel & Eric Radford (CAN)-3rd at 2011 Skate Canada, 7th 2011 Worlds, 2nd 2011 Four Continents, 5th 2010 Skate Canada, 3rd 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 181.79 at 2011 Four Continents 

Amanda Evora & Mark Ladwig (USA)-4th at 2011 Cup of China, 11th 2011 Worlds, 6th 2011 Four Continents, 3rd 2010 Rostelecom Cup, 5th 2010 Cup of China; PB: 171.92 at 2010 Winter Olympics

Vanessa James & Morgan Cipres (FRA)-

Ksenia Stolbova & Fedor Klimov (RUS)-2nd 2011 World Juniors, 2nd 2011 JGP Final,

5th 2010 Skate America, 1st 2010 JGP England, 1st 2010 JGP Austria; PB: 159.79 at
2010 JGP Austria

Tatiana Volosozhar & Maxim Trankov (RUS)-1st at 2011 Skate Canada, 1st 2011 O Nepela, 1st
2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 2nd 2011 Worlds, 1st 2011 Mont Blanc Trophy; PB: 210.73 at 2011 Worlds

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