Internationaux de France, the third event of the Series, takes place in the southern city of Grenoble, Nov. 1-3.
Russia′s Alina Zagitova will be looking to continue her successful run from last season and is the favorite to take the title. Japan′s Kaori Sakamoto and Mariah Bell of the U.S. will be Zagitova′s main rivals in France, along with Alena Kostornaia of Russia, the reigning Junior Grand Prix Final champion, who will make her senior Grand Prix debut in Grenoble. Don′t count out Japan′s Wakaba Higuchi who is on the comeback trail and could pose a threat for a place on the podium. Ting Cui of the U.S., the 2019 World junior bronze medalist, was also scheduled to make her senior Grand Prix debut at this competition, but withdrew from both her assignments after suffering a foot injury during an off-ice training session in early October.
The men′s field is down to 11 following the withdrawal of a French skater. Nathan Chen will be aiming for victory in France and a place at the Grand Prix Final following his win at Skate America. Japan′s Shoma Uno will be his main rival and the battle for gold will undoubtedly be between these two men. Bronze is up for grabs, with Russia′s Alexander Samarin, the veteran Sergei Voronov, and reigning French champion Kévin Aymoz frontrunners to claim the third step of the podium.
Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès are taking a break from competition for the remainder of 2019. None of the teams competing in Grenoble have ever won a French Grand Prix title, so new champions will be crowned. Russia′s Anastasia Mishina and Aleksandr Galliamov, the 2019 World Junior champions, have brought their star power to the senior level and might cause the upset of the competition if they skate to gold. Haven Denney and Brandon Frazier of the U.S., third at Skate America, will be chasing a second podium finish. Their teammates, Ashley Cain-Gribble and Timothy LeDuc, had a rough long program at their first event in the U.S., but we expect them to step it up at this competition.
Five teams that train with the same coaches in Montréal, Canada, will compete in France. One of them is the reigning World champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron who are shoo-ins to capture their fourth consecutive ice dance crown at their homeland Grand Prix. Their training mates, Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S., are best bets to take the silver. Four teams will likely battle it out for the bronze. At the top of that list are Italy′s Charlène Guignard and Marco Fabbri; Tiffany Zagorski and Jonathan Guerreiro of Russia, and Poland′s Natalia Kaliszek and Maksym Spodyriev.
The ISU will live stream all competitions on its YouTube channel this season, starting with the Grand Prix Series. The CBC schedule is below. NBC will air a recap of this event on Sun., Nov. 3, from 4-6 p.m.
CBC LIVE STREAM
2019 GRAND PRIX ASSIGNMENTS