2017 Internationaux de France, the penultimate event of the Series, will play out in Grenoble, the host city of the 1968 Olympic Winter Games.
Russia’s Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov will lead the charge in the pairs field but this will be a very competitive event. The lineup includes homeland favorites Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès, Canada’s Lubov Ilyushechkina and Dylan Moscovitch and China’s Cheng Peng and Yang Jin. Everyone will have to be on top of their game to have any hope of landing on the podium.
Likewise in ice dance. Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron will be the heavy favorites to twizzle to gold on home soil. But with three other experienced top-10 World-ranked teams in the lineup, the French duo will have to be at their best. Canada’s Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje, Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S., and Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin will be the main challengers for a podium finish.
Japan’s Shoma Uno will be looking for a win at this event to secure a place at the Final. His main competition should come from Spain’s Javier Fernández if he is back on top of his game after health issues left him off the podium at Cup of China. Medal hopefuls include Israel’s Alexei Bychenko, Kazakhstan’s Denis Ten and Max Aaron and Vincent Zhou of the U.S.
French skater Chafik Besseghier was removed from the roster in mid-November. In early October, he was hospitalized after complaining of severe respiratory problems in early October. The diagnosis: a collapsed lung. China’s Zijun Li, who has not made an appearance all season, is also out of the competition. Due to these late withdrawals, only 11 men and 11 ladies will compete in Grenoble, rather than the usual 12.
The ladies competition will be one to watch with Canada’s Kaetlyn Osmond, Japan’s Mai Mihara and the Russian contingent comprised of Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, Maria Sotskova and the reigning World junior champion, Alina Zagitova, battling it out. Polina Edmunds of the U.S. will make her first Grand Prix appearance since her return to the competitive arena after being sidelined for 21 months with a severe bone bruise.
NEXT EVENT: 2017 SKATE AMERICA