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2018 Finlandia Trophy takes place Oct. 4 – 7 in Espoo, Finland. The line-ups in all four disciplines are the strongest of the Series to date. A total of 68 athletes will compete in Espoo: 22 men, 24 ladies, 10 pairs and 12 ice dance teams. Seven synchronized skating teams will compete their short programs.
Russia′s Mikhail Kolyada, who won his first Challenger event, Ondrej Nepela, will go up against South Korean teenager, Jun-Hwan Cha. The 16-year-old won the free skate over Yuzuru Hanyu at his first event, 2018 Autumn Classic, and ranked second overall. Dmitri Aliev of Russia, second at Lombarda Trophy, will also be in the hunt for gold in Espoo.
In ladies, Russia′s Elizaveta Tuktamysheva will be aiming to repeat the performances and first-place result she achieved at Lombardia Trophy. Her teammate, Stanislava Konstantinova, third at Ondrej Nepela, and Elizabet Tursynbaeva of Kazakhstan, second at Ondrej Nepela, will likely be the top three contenders for gold.
Reigning World silver medalists Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov are the stars of the pairs field. The battle for second and third should be extremely interesting. Contenders include Canada′s Kirsten-Moore Towers and Michael Marinaro, second at Autumn Classic, Aleksandra Boikova and Dmitri Kozlovskii of Russia, second at Lombardia, and Australia′s Ekaterina Alexandrovskaya and Harley Windsor, who placed third at the 2018 U.S. International Classic.
The ice dance line-up is headed by Russia′s Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin. Challengers for the podium include Spain′s Olivia Smart and Adrián Díaz, second at Autumn Classic, and Carolane Soucisse and Shane Firus of Canada, third at Autumn Classic.
This is the last Challenger Series event for a month. The next competition, the Alpen Trophy, takes place Nov. 11-18 in Innsbruck, Austria.