Ice Dance is the headlining event at Trophee Eric Bompard as it is the France's best chance of winning a medal. This is a strong field, 4 of the 8 having medaled on the Grand Prix this season thus far. The short dance wraps up the short programs this Friday November 18th at 2:00 p.m. EST and the free is the final event of the competition on Saturday November 19th at 2:30 p.m. EST.
Olympic champs Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (CAN) are the clear favorites in this event, hands down. They won't face serious competition until they meet Davis & White at the Grand Prix Final. Their programs this season are nice, but the're safe, while some of the up and coming teams are taking risks. One of the risk-taking teams is Natalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat (FRA), the home favorites and likely Silver medalists. Their short dance is very fun, very Carnaval, but their Egyptian-themed free, though technically exquisite, is a bit garish. I commend them for verging into new territory, but their over the top Halloween-looking costumes just aren't World Class. Bronze will be a tight race between two teams that already have Bronze medals from their first Grand Prix of the season, Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA) and Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov (RUS). Both teams have great sets of programs, very different in nature, but the Italians have about a 5 point advantage over the Russians when comparing scores from their first events. It's difficult to compare across events sometimes, but the Italians were cleaner overall. Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA) were a last minute substitution and though they likely won't medal here, they look to improve their scores and overall performance at each competition with the hope of medaling at US Nationals in January and qualifying for Worlds.
My Podium Predictions:
1) Virtue & Moir (CAN)
2) Pechalat & Bourzat (FRA)
3) Cappellini & Lanotte (ITA)
Anna Cappellini & Luca Lanotte (ITA)-3rd at 2011 Skate Canada, 8th 2011 Worlds, 1st 2011 Mont Blanc Trophy, 5th 2010 NHK Trophy, 2nd 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 154.87 at 2011 Worlds
Madison Chock & Evan Bates (USA)-4th at 2011 Skate Canada, 3rd 2011 Finlandia Trophy; PB: 136.88 at 2011 Finlandia Trophy
Kristina Gorshkova & Vitali Butikov (RUS)-5th 2011 Finlandia Trophy, 1st 2011 Winter Universiade, 2nd 2010 Golden Spin, 4th 2010 Cup of Russia, 6th 2010 Skate Canada, 3rd 2010 Finlandia Trophy, 3rd 2010 Mont Blanc Trophy; PB: 127.47 at 2010 Rostelecom Cup
Xintong Huang & Xun Zheng (CHN)-5th at 2011 Cup of China, 17th 2011 Worlds, 6th 2011 Four Continents, 1st 2011 Asian Winter Games, 5th 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 5th 2010 Cup of China; 130.29 at 2011 Four Continents
Sara Hurtado & Andria Diaz (ESP)-7th 2011 Nebelhorn Trophy, 23rd 2011 Worlds, 15th 2011 Europeans, 3rd 2011 Bavarian Open, 4th 2011 Winter Universiade, 11th 2010 Golden Spin, 8th 2010 Junior NRW Trophy, 5th 2010 JGP Germany, 10th 2010 JGP England; PB: 120.411 at 2011 World Juniors
Elena Ilinykh & Nikita Katsalapov (RUS)-3rd at 2011 NHK Trophy, 7th 2011 Worlds, 4th 2011 Europeans, 3rd 2010 Rostelecom Cup, 4th 2010 NHK Trophy; PB: 154.50 at 2011 Worlds
Nathalie Pechalat & Fabian Bourzat (FRA)-2nd at 2011 Skate America, 4th 2011 Worlds, 1st 2011 Europeans, 2nd 2010 Grand Prix Final, 1st 2010 Trophee Eric Bompard, 1st 2011 Cup of China, 1st 2010 Finlandia Trophy, 1st 2010 Nebelhorn Trophy; PB: 167.40 at 2011 Europeans
Tessa Virtue & Scott Moir (CAN)-1st at 2011 Skate Canada, 1st 2011 Finlandia Trophy, 2nd 2011 Worlds, 1st 2010 Worlds, 1st 2010 Winter Olympics; PB: 181.79 at 2011 Worlds