Friday, November 21, 2014

2014 Trophee Eric Bompard Preview/Predictions

Trophee Eric Bompard finds itself in Bordeaux this weekend rather than the traditional Paris! Will there be other surprises? Will each skater take a bow when announced for their warm up, like last year? And will that cool guy who’s always sketching the TEB skaters still be around? Answers to those and other outlying questions will arrive by Friday afternoon. Here are some predictions in the meantime:


Gold—Tatsuki Machida (JPN)
Silver—Maxim Kovtun (RUS)
Bronze—Richard Dornbush (USA)

Dark Horse: Yan Han (CHN)

With just a couple weeks to go in the initial 6-week stretch of the Series, we start to see previous podium winners resurface. How will they fare when pitted against each other—for the second time, in some cases? Machida (along with Takahito Mura) started the season with a stunning 1-2 punch from Japan, and I’m looking forward to another marvelous effort from him. Kovtun won the now-infamous men’s event at Cup of China a couple weeks ago, but had been so thrown by The Grand Collision (as IFS Magazine’s calling it) that he didn’t seem to give his victory much value when he spoke about it. I hope he ends up feeling better about this week’s results, even if it leaves him with silver. And I’ve gone ahead and put Dornbush in bronze position because Yan has to be one of the truest Wild Card picks this week (1st event back since the crash! Has he really recovered enough to compete well?). Dornbush, on the other hand, has proven that medals can happen when you nail a quad in your lovely Coldplay FS...


Gold—Elena Radionova (RUS)
Silver—Julia Lipnitskaia (RUS)
Bronze—Ashley Wagner (USA)

Dark Horse: Courtney Hicks (USA) or Samantha Cesario (USA)

Another GP event, another Russian teen for the win? Sure seems likely to me. And with Radionova and Lipnitskaia the ones in question, I’m giving the nod to the former. For the record, though—while Lipnitskaia comes here on the heels of giving one of her (self-described) worst-ever free skates, I don’t expect her to keep on crumbling. Leave points on the table, maybe. But there’s got to be a lot of strength, mental and physical alike, amid all that flexibility... don’t you think? Meanwhile, I look forward to the strong U.S. women in this event skating very well. Just not well enough, judicially speaking, for the top spots.


Gold— Stolbova/Klimov (RUS)
Silver—Sui/Han (CHN)
Bronze—James/Cipres (FRA)

Dark Horse: Scimeca/Knierim (CHN)

With Stolbova/Klimov looking as strong as they did a week ago, it’s hard to begrudge them this gold prediction—even if the back-to-back events exhaust them a bit. Sui/Han could lock up their own GP Final berth with another silver medal... and I’m going with the home team for bronze on the thought that a) they might be able to break through a first-ever podium finish with the support of the French crowd, and b) Scimeca/Knierim haven’t been as strong yet this season as I was hoping they’d be. (But with their American in Paris FS, this would sure be a good time (and place) for them to make a move up the rankings.


Gold— Papadakis/Cizeron (FRA)
Silver—Gilles/Poirier (CAN)
Bronze—Hubbell/Donohue (USA)

Dark Horse: Paul/Islam (CAN)

It happens, sometimes... a team withdraws from a competition not due to injury or illness, but because they feel their programs need so much tweaking they feel it’s not even worth coming to the starting line. Such as the case this time around for Cappellini/Lanotte. The reigning World Champs ended up 3rd behind a relatively new French team two weeks ago, and that could not possibly have sat well with them. So when faced with the same dance team—on their home ice, no less—C/L have opted not to show. Will that adversely affect the competition? Not if you’re okay with a possible repeat of silver and bronze from Skate Canada.

Look for #TEB14 as the hashtag if you are on Twitter. Things kick off with the pairs short program at 9:30AM ET... bonne chance with your viewing!

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