by Laura Flagg | Photo by Robin Ritoss
Trophee Bompard, the second-to-last Grand Prix event, takes place this week in Bordeaux, France. Only seven teams will be competing in France as the reigning World Champions, Anna Cappellini & Luca LaNotte, withdrew last week.
Gabriella Papadakis & Guillaume Cizeron are coming off a stunning victory at Cup of China. Given the immense amount of progress they’ve made, their beautiful free dance to music by Mozart, and the home ice advantage, they are the favorites. A medal of any color will guarantee them a slot in the Grand Prix Final, and they should manage that with relative ease. However, picking up a second victory will be a slightly more difficult task.
Among their main competitors is the team of Piper Gilles & Paul Poirier, who won the silver at Skate Canada. Barring major mistakes, like the ones they had in their short dance, they should be able to improve their score. Whether this will be enough to place ahead of Papadakis & Cizeron remains to be seen. Their short dance, if skated cleanly, has the potential to be one of the very best this season. A top-two finish will clinch them a spot in the Grand Prix Final, barring multiple major upsets in Japan next week.
Madison Hubbell & Zach Donohue are the other medal favorites. They had a solid start to this season, winning a bronze at Skate Canada behind Gilles and Poirier. If Hubbell & Donohue, who are coached by Anjelika Krylova and Pasquale Camerlengo, can improve on that finish, they have a shot of qualifying for the Grand Prix Final. Even if they do not make the cut for the final, another medal would make them a heavy favorite to earn a spot on the United States’ world team for the second time.
Alexandra Paul & Mitchell Islam have, up to this point in time, a relatively disappointing season. Last season, their results were on par with, if not better than, the results of all three of the medal favorites. And while their 5th place finish at Cup of Russia was a huge improvement on their performance at the Autumn Classic, they are capable of more. However, they have only had two weeks to make any necessary adjustments.
Sara Hurtado & Adria Diaz of Spain have yet to repeat their stunning performance at the Olympic Games earlier this year, but they will make another attempt to do so this week. Hurtado & Diaz finished 8th at Skate Canada and a top five finish is a realistic goal for them in France.
Charlene Guignard & Marco Fabbri placed 6th at Skate America, which is the best Grand Prix placement of their careers. They placed 14th last season at Worlds.
Rounding out the roster, Rebeka Kim & Kirill Minov will try to improve on their 8th place finish from last week at Rostelecom Cup. They are the only ice dance team representing Korea on the Grand Prix series.
The short dance will be contested on Friday with the free dance closing the Trophee Bompard event on Saturday.