In the French Grand prix event, a “French top” will be reached in the dance event with Pechalat/Bourzat trying to get their second Bompard victory this week. Last year they got silver in the same competition behind Virtue/Moir who seem to be unbeatable by anyone except Davis/White. The French team won’t compete against the Canadian champions until the grand prix final (I am assuming that they will qualify, but that’s pretty sure considering they already have 15 points and will need just 11 more) so I don’t think they will have any problem going for gold. Anyway, as Pechalat/Bourzat said in a interview published on icenetwork.com, being third in the world is not enough for them. From this year they are challenging the first positions trying to get closer and closer to the Zueva’s team. What they showed at Cup of China two weeks ago was really promising. They had a 69 points short dance, 3 points less than Davis/White and just a point less than Virtue/Moir, and a 100 points free dance, 4 points less than both teams.
Future competitions will show if they are truly challenging other couples, for sure they are challenging themselves with difficult and intricate programs.
At Skate Canada, another team was very close to beat Virtue/Moir in the short dance. Cappellini/Lanotte scored just 0.01 point less than the Canadians in the short getting their personal best. The competition got hotter in someone’s mind as both teams were skating to Carmen in the free dance, one team coached by Marina Zueva, the other by Igor Shpilban. Actually Virtue/Moir were on another level and the short was a bad accident for them. However the Italians have improved a lot both technically and artistically and have a chance for a silver at Trophee Bompard and for the final.
The bronze medal could be assigned to Riazanova/Tkachenko of Russia who medaled at Skate Canada well behind Cappellini/Lanotte, or maybe Hubbel/Donohue who were fourth at Skate Canada as well.
Both teams had some troubles on technical elements, but I personally judge Hubbel/Donohue artistically superior so if they have fixed those elements in the past weeks, I think they will be in front.
Gold: Pechalat/Bourzat (FRA)
Silver: Cappellini/Lanotte (ITA)
Bronze: Hubbel/Donohue (USA)