2017 Internationaux de France Men’s Preview

With two events to go in the Grand Prix series, only Mikhail Kolyada has secured his place in the Final with 26 points.  Jason Brown has 22 points, and while it is unlikely, he still has a shot at the Final depending on how everyone else skates.  Six men at this event have a shot of making the Final, but most will need a gold medal to do so.

Shoma Uno is the only skater to score over 300 points this season and has done so twice, at Lombardia Trophy and Skate Canada.  He needs a gold, silver, or bronze medal to qualify for the Final, while a 4th place finish would still give him a strong chance.  At Lombardia Trophy he hit the quad flip and quad toe + triple toe, while at Skate Canada he only added a double to the combination.  He earned all positive GOEs in Canada, worth 10 points, and his program components were his highest of the season ranging from the low to mid 9s.  He even received three 10.00 marks, but they were all from the same judge.  He has been playing with the layout of his free skate and did not attempt the quad salchow at Skate Canada that he had landed at Lombardia Trophy.  He has three quads and a triple axel combination in the bonus, although his solo quad toe was under-rotated in Canada.  He completed four quads, and two of them had positive GOEs.  At Lombardia Trophy, he landed five quads, four with positive GOEs.  His biggest difference in scores between events, definitely has to be on the GOE side.  At Lombardia Trophy, he earned a whopping 23 points from GOEs in his free skate, while at Skate Canada, he only earned 6.  His program components were similar between events, in the high 8s to mid 9s.  He has the 2nd best short program, best free skate, and best total scores.

Javier Fernandez is out of the running for the Grand Prix Final after a 6th place finish at Cup of China, his worst finish since 2010.  His short program is intended to include a quad toe + double toe and a quad salchow.  However, in China he missed his opening quad.  At both events he earned all Level 4s, but he lost ground in China with a messy triple axel.  His program components were similar at both events, in the low to mid 9s.  His free skate is intended to have a quad toe and a quad salchow + triple toe.  He landed a quad salchow in his free skate in China, but tripled his opening quad, missed his triple axel combination, doubled a flip and earned negative GOEs on three of his jumps.  He did earn all Level 4s and had program components in the high 8s to low 9s.  He has the 4th best short program, 6th best free skate, and 5th best total scores, although they all came from the Autumn Classic International.

Max Aaron won the bronze medal at Cup of China with a personal best free skate score.  He needs a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.  He landed a quad toe + double toe and a quad salchow in his short program, although the opening quad and his triple axel received negative GOEs.  Overall, he earned only tenths of a point from GOEs for this program.  His program components were better than earlier in the season, in the mid to high 7s.  In the free skate he landed a quad toe + double toe, quad salchow, and a quad toe in the bonus.  Both of his triple axels are in the bonus, along with a triple lutz + single loop + triple salchow combination.  He also earned Level 4 on his spins and his step sequence and only had two very slight negative GOEs.  His program components were some of his best, in the high 7s to low 8s.  He has the 9th best free skate and 8th best total scores.

Vincent Zhou finished 4th in his Grand Prix debut at Cup of China.  He needs a gold medal to keep himself in the running for the Final.  He started off with a bang with a clean quad lutz + triple toe worth 19.76 points.  However, he fell on a fully rotated quad flip and had his triple axel under-rotated and fell on it.  He also under-rotated the triple axel and his solo flip at Finlandia Trophy.  At both events, his GOEs actually lost him points on the technical score.  His program components were much better in China, scoring in the low to mid 7s.  His free skate had a quad lutz + triple toe that was again well done, earning him 19.90 points.  He also attempted a quad flip, quad salchow, quad lutz, and quad salchow + double toe.  The solo salchow and lutz were both under-rotated and he fell on the salchow.  He also has one triple axel in the bonus and a triple lutz + single loop + triple flip combination.  His program was a bit cleaner at Finlandia, but his jump content was a lot more difficult in China, and he did score over 100 points on the technical side.  His program components were all in the mid 7s.  He has the 10th best free skate score.

Alexei Bychenko won bronze at NHK Trophy last week.  His short program includes a quad toe and a triple lutz + triple toe.  He earned all positive GOEs and had program components in the mid 7s to low 8s.  His free skate has a quad toe + triple toe and a quad toe.  He doubled a loop and had a messy landing on a triple axel, but otherwise the program was fairly clean.  His program components were in the high 7s to low 8s.  He needs a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.

Alexander Samarin won bronze in his Grand Prix debut at Skate Canada with personal best scores across the board.  He needs a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.  His short program includes a quad lutz + triple toe and a quad toe, although neither are in the bonus.  His triple axel was under-rotated and earned negative GOEs.  His program components were on the lower side, in the low to high 7s.  His free skate includes a quad lutz and a quad toe.  His only errors were under-rotating his triple axel combination and a messy double axel at the end of the program.  He only earned Level 3 on his spins, so that is an area he could improve on.  His program components were slightly better, in the mid 7s to low 8s.

Misha Ge finished 4th at Rostelecom Cup with personal best scores across the board.  He hasn’t included a quad in his short program at either of his events this season, but he has landed his triple lutz + triple toe and triple flip.  He earned all positive GOEs at Rostelecom Cup and had program components in the low to mid 8s.  His free skate also does not include a quad and while he has five jumping passes in the bonus, two are his lower value double axels.  He earned all positive GOEs in Russia, worth 11 points, and had program components in the low to mid 8s.  He needs a gold medal to keep himself in the running for the Final.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Shoma Uno

Silver: Javier Fernandez

Bronze: Vincent Zhou

 

Bios of the competitors:

Kevin Aymoz, FRA: He placed 15th at Europeans and 7th at Junior Worlds.  He finished 4th at JGP France and 6th at JGP Slovenia last season.  This is his Grand Prix debut.  His personal best is 218.63.  He is 20 years old.

Romain Ponsart, FRA: His personal best is 184.12.  He is 25 years old.

Moris Kvitelashvili, GEO: He placed 13th at Worlds and 6th at Europeans.  He finished 5th at Rostelecom Cup last season.  His personal best is 250.26.  He is 22 years old.

Alexei Bychenko, ISR: He finished 10th at Worlds and 5th at Europeans.  He won bronze at NHK Trophy.  He is the 2016 European Silver Medalist.  His personal best is 255.52.  He is 29 years old.

Shoma Uno, JPN: He is the reigning World Silver Medalist and reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalist. He won gold at Skate Canada.  He is the 2015 World Junior Champion.  His personal best is 319.84.  He is 19 years old.

Denis Ten, KAZ: He finished 16th at Worlds.  He placed 9th at Rostelecom Cup.  He is the 2014 Olympic Bronze Medalist, 2013 World Silver Medalist, 2015 World Bronze Medalist, and 2015 Four Continents Champion.  His personal best is 289.46.  He is 24 years old.

Alexander Samarin, RUS: He placed 8th at Europeans and is the reigning World Junior Bronze Medalist.  He won bronze at Skate Canada.  His personal best is 250.06.  He is 19 years old.

Javier Fernandez, ESP: He finished 4th at Worlds and is the reigning European Champion.  He placed 6th at Cup of China.  He is the 2015 and 2016 World Champion; 2013 and 2014 World Bronze Medalist; and 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 European Champion.  His personal best is 314.93.  He is 26 years old.

Max Aaron, USA: He won bronze at Cup of China.  His personal best is 261.56.  He is 25 years old.

Vincent Zhou, USA: He is the reigning World Junior Champion.  He placed 4th at Cup of China.  His personal best is 258.11.  He is 17 years old.

Misha Ge, UZB: He placed 12th at Worlds and 7th at Four Continents.  He finished 4th at Rostelecom Cup.  His personal best is 255.33.  He is 26 years old.

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