The 2021 Challenger Series opens with Lombardia Trophy in Bergamo, Italy, Sep. 10–12. Three disciplines will be contested (no pairs) and a limited number of spectators will be permitted to attend.
This competition takes place in the same time frame as the Russian senior test skates (Sep. 11-12 – link below) and no skaters from that nation are entered in this competition. Japan is also not represented. For federations still undecided about which skaters to send to Nebelhorn Trophy to vie for Olympic berths, this competition will serve as a skate-off.
Italy′s Daniel Grassl and Morisi Kvitelashvili of Georgia are the top names in the men’s field of 24 competitors. Yaroslav Paniot will make his international debut as a member of Team USA, following his release from Ukraine in May, 2021. He will be joined by Tomoki Hiwatashi.
In the women′s discipline, 32 competitors are set to take the ice. Two Americans, Alysa Liu and Audrey Shin, who finished first and fourth, respectively, at the Cranberry Cup International in mid-August are in the line-up. Liu has been selected as the representative to vie for a third berth for the U.S. at Nebelhorn. Alexia Paganini of Switzerland and Poland′s Ekaterina Kurakova are also slated to compete.
Canada′s Laurence Fournier Beaudry and Nikolaj Sørensen headline the ice dance field of 20 teams. They will be joined by training mates Alicia Fabbri and Paul Ayer. The U.S. is also represented by two teams: Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko (now coached by Scott Moir and Patrice Lauzon) and Molly Cesanek and Yehor Yehorov who were impressive in their outing at the 2021 Lake Placid Ice Dance International competition. With only one Olympic berth available and two teams vying for it, Spain′s Sara Hurtado and Kirill Khaliavin will be looking for a top finish at their first event of the season to make a strong statement.
*The pairs competition is not part of the Challenger Series