2018 Ondrej Nepela Trophy takes place Sep. 19 – 22 in Bratislava, Slovakia. This competition overlaps with 2018 Autumn Classic International.
A total of 54 athletes will compete in Bratislava: 20 men, 18 ladies, five pairs and 11 ice dance teams are listed on the rosters.
Mikhail Koyada of Russia headlines the men′s event. His teammate, Sergei Voronov and Japan′s Keiji Tanaka will be challenging Kolyada for the top step of the podium.
Reigning Olympic champion Alina Zagitova was unable to leave Russia to attend this event due to a problem with paperwork, the Russian federation said in a press release on Sep. 19. No further details were provided.
The ladies event is now a different playing field. Four skaters in the running for gold are Russia′s Stanislava Konstantinova and Polina Tsurskaya and Japan′s representatives, Rika Kihira and Rin Nitaya.
Barring any unforeseen circumstances, the two American pairs teams — Ashley Cain and Timothy LeDuc (who won the 2018 U.S. Classic) and Deanna Stellato and Nathan Bartholomay — will go one-two. Bronze is up for grabs.
There are no clear-cut winners in the ice dance event. Victoria Sinitsina and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia and Lorraine McNamara and Quinn Carpenter of the U.S. are the two strongest teams in the field.
Following the split with his former partner, Angélique Abachkina, earlier this year, Louis Thauron teamed up with Russian-born Adelina Galayavieva. The French duo will make their debut in Bratislava.
2018 CHALLENGER SERIES