2017 Internationaux de France Pairs Preview

With two events to go in the series, Sui and Han have qualified for the Final with 30 points, while Stolbova and Klimov have also qualified with 26 points.  Astakhova and Rogonov have 22 points and are a long shot for the Final, but still in the running depending on how the events the next two weeks pan out.  There are three teams at this event that still have a shot of qualifying for the Final.

Tarasova and Morozov won their first career Grand Prix gold medal with a personal best free skate at Rostelecom Cup.  They need a gold, silver, or bronze medal to qualify for the Final, while a 4th place finish would keep them in contention.  Their short program includes side by side triple toes and a throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 for their twist, pair spin, lift and step sequence.  They had earned a Level 4 on their death spiral earlier this season at Nebelhorn Trophy.  They had program components in the low to mid 9s.  Their free skate included a Level 3 quad twist that earned positive GOEs, earning 8.74 points at Nebelhorn Trophy and 8.69 points at Rostelecom Cup.  They landed their side by side triple salchows and triple toe + double toe + double toe successfully along with their throw triple salchow and throw triple loop.  The only negative GOEs they received on their program were a very slight negative on the throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 on their lifts and spins with program components in the low to mid 9s.  They lost a point for a time violation at both of their events this season.  They have the 2nd best short program, 4th best free skate, and 2nd best total scores.

James and Cipres won bronze in a tough field at Skate Canada.  They need a gold medal to guarantee a spot in the Final.  Their short program includes a solo triple salchow and a throw triple lutz.  They earned Level 4 on their lift and step sequence, but had earned a Level 4 on their death spiral at the Autumn Classic International.  They had all positive GOEs, earning 7 points, and their program components were in the mid to high 8s.  Their free skate included a side by side triple toe + double toe + double toe and a triple salchow.  Their throw jumps include a triple lutz and a quad salchow which she stood up on and was fully rotated for the second time this season.  They earned Level 4 on their death spiral, side by side spin, and two lifts.  Their program components were in the mid to high 8s.  They have the 6th best short program, 5th best free skate, and 6th best total scores.

Peng and Jin are out of the running for the Grand Prix Final after finishing 5th at Skate Canada, but they could still play spoiler and win a medal.  While their short program at Skate Canada did not land them in the top 6, they had a more successful outing at Finlandia Trophy.  At that event, their short program included a triple toe and a throw triple loop.  They earned Level 4 on their twist, death spiral, and lift.  They had all positive GOEs and program components in the high 7s to mid 8s.  Their free skate includes side by side triple toe + double toe and triple salchow which they have not landed cleanly at either of their events this season.  Their throw jumps are a triple loop and triple salchow.  They earned Level 4 on their death spiral and two lifts at Skate Canada.  Their program components were in the low to mid 7s.  They have the 8th best short program and 9th best total scores.

Della Monica and Guarise finished 4th at Cup of China.  They need a gold medal to keep themselves in contention for the Final.  Their short program includes  side by side triple salchows and a throw triple loop.  They have earned Level 4 on different elements throughout the season, earning Level 4 on each element at least once this season, however they have hit Level 4 on the lift at all three of their events.  Their program components have been consistent in the mid to high 7s.  Their free skate features side by side triple salchows but they have only landed their triple toe + double combination once this season.  For their throws they have triple loop and triple salchow.  Again, they have earned Level 4 on everything at some points this season, but their spins have received Level 4 at all three of their events.  Their program components have again been fairly consistent, with Cup of China being the average in the low to mid 8s.

 

My podium predictions:

Gold: Tarasova/Morozov

Silver: James/Cipres

Bronze: Della Monica/Guarise

 

Bios of the competitors:

Ilyushechkina/Moscovitch, CAN: They finished 6th at Worlds and are the reigning Four Continents Bronze Medalists.  They placed 6th at Skate Canada.  Their personal best is 206.19.  She is 26 and he is 33.

Peng/Jin, CHN: They placed 5th at Four Continents.  They finished 5th at Skate Canada.  Their personal best is 204.49.  She is 20 and he is 23.

Esbrat/Novoselov, FRA: They finished 27th at Worlds and 13th at Europeans.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  Their personal best is 145.72.  She is 20 and he is 27.

James/Cipres, FRA: They finished 8th at Worlds and are the reigning European Bronze Medalists.  They won bronze at Skate Canada.  Their personal best is 222.59.  She is 30 and he is 26.

Jones/Boyadji, GBR: They placed 26th at Worlds and 14th at Europeans.  This is their Grand Prix debut.  She is 37 and he is 27.

Della Monica/Guarise, ITA: They placed 13th at Worlds and 8th at Europeans.  They finished 4th at Cup of China.  Their personal best is 193.50.  She is 28 and he is 29.

Tarasova/Morozov, RUS: They are the reigning World Bronze Medalists and reigning European Champions.  They won gold at Rostelecom Cup.  They are the 2015 and 2016 European Bronze Medalists and 2014 World Junior Silver Medalists.  Their personal best is 227.58.  She is 22 and he is 25.

Castelli/Tran, USA: They placed 7th at Rostelecom Cup.  Their personal best is 176.38.  She is 27 and he is 27.