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French Skaters Prepare for New Season

If you are wondering what the French skaters are up to this summer, wonder no more.

There were those who chose to spend time at exotic destinations while others stayed close to home. The most popular destinations were high altitude ice-rinks located in the French Alps.

Brian Joubert and Alban Préaubert shared the ice in Courchevel in July. Joubert returned to his hometown of Poitiers to resume training in August, whereas Préaubert’s planned to remain in the famed ski resort through August.

Préaubert spent more than a week in the U.S. in June, polishing his programs with choreographer Nikolai Morozov.

Villard de Lans, a city close to Grenoble, was another popular destination. The permanent training site of ice dancers Zoé Blanc and Pierre-Loup Bouquet was also home to Gwendoline Didier for a few weeks in August. Didier spent July training in Font-Romeu in the French Pyrenees, close to the Spanish border.

Candice Didier trained in Pralognan-La Vanoise in July under the guidance of Joubert’s former coach, Jean-Christophe Simond. She also plans to spend time at La Roche-sur-Yon in the west of France in August with her regular coach Katia Krier-Beyer.

The final alpine destination chosen by a senior French skater was Méribel, which hosted some skiing events and the ice-hockey tournament during the 1992 Winter Olympics. Florent Amodio spent some time in this resort with his coach Bernard Glesser. In early July he traveled to Canada to work with Doug Leigh at the Mariposa School of Skating for two weeks. He then headed to Epinal in eastern France to finalize his practices and will spend the last half of August in Caen in Normandy.

While In Epinal, Amodio trained with Nathalie Péchalat and Fabian Bourzat. The 2009 French ice dance champions trained there for the entire month of July, supervised by their coaches Alexandr Zhulin and Oleg Volkov, before heading back to Moscow in early August.

In early June, they put together their new free in their former training base of Lyon with hip-hop choreographer Kader Belmoktar with whom they had worked three years ago.

Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder also remained in Lyon this summer. The 2008 World Ice dancing champions were hoping to continue to train as long as Isabelle could skate. Delobel is expected to give birth to her first child in September.

Yannick Ponséro left his Annecy home for two weeks in June, in order to work in San Diego with Eric Millot (1993 European bronze medalist), who was the French team leader at the 2009 Worlds in Los Angeles.

The 2009 French Pairs champions, Adeline Canac and Maximin Coia, trained the entire summer with their coach Annie Barabé in Québec. Canac has recovered from a bout of mononucleosis, which prevented her from competing at Worlds.

Their domestic rivals, Vanessa James and Yannick Bonheur, practiced under the tutelage of Karl Kurtz at the University of Delaware most of the summer but spent some time in China working with Bin Yao’s team.