Just six pairs this week at 2016 Trophee de France after two of the three French pairs ended up withdrawing from it. It's a little bit sad, unfortunately, that there weren't other pairs that were added to the lineup, especially since pairs events are generally smaller than the other disciplines in figure skating. Nevertheless, this is yet another solid group of pairs who will be competing on the Grand Prix.
Trophee de France predictions
Unofficial hashtag: #GPFrance
GOLD Aliona Savchenko/Bruno Massot GER - Last week at Rostelecom Cup, we saw the World bronze medalists step it up another notch in the technical department. They are now adding a throw quad salchow in addition to the new throw triple axel they debuted earlier in the season. They will get another chance to try out the new tricks this week in Paris, and as they were last week, they will be the favorites for the title coming in. A berth on the Grand Prix is on the line - and well within reach - but more than anything, this will be another chance for Savchenko/Massot to find the technical difficult and consistency they will need to compete with Meagan Duhamel/Eric Radford.
SILVER Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov RUS - Bronze at Skate America was a surprise, especially considering how good they looked in the short. But they took a huge risk with the quad twist in the free (that plus the fact that Morozov was sick that day), and a fall on that opening element completely shook Tarasova up. They will be looking for a much more consistent free skate this week, and it will be interesting to see how that quad twist looks here.
BRONZE Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres FRA - Like Tarasova/Morozov, James/Cipres had a similar experience at Skate America, where an early mistake in the free completely ruined it for them. They've taken their disappointing there in stride, and it will be important for them to skate well in Paris this week. Their two programs this season can really be breakthroughs for them, but they will need a few clean skates to capitalize on them. I have a feeling that James/Cipres will come back with a vengeance here.
4. Natalia Zabiiako/Alexander Enbert RUS - A fantastic second last week at Rostelecom Cup, Zabiiako/Enbert will look to continue their success. They are a wonderful pair who is looking to make some waves this season and possibly grab one of the coveted spots on the World team. They did beat Savchenko/Massot in the short last week, taking advantage of Savchenko/Massot's errors, so they very much have podium potential here.
5. Marissa Castelli/Mervin Tran USA - The U.S. bronze medalists have been making steady improvements since this summer, when Tran suffered a concussion in practice that took them out of training for a bit. Every competition seems to come together a bit more for them, and they will be looking to take another step forward this week on their way to Nationals. It will be tough for them to break into the top four here with these pairs, but they've proven with their high-60s short program that they can compete if they are clean.
6. Miriam Ziegler/Severin Kiefer AUT - One of the rare pairs in skating with side-by-side triple lutzes, Ziegler/Kiefer were looking stronger last season, though the second half of their season was not as solid. They will need to be super this week to be competitive with the rest of this field.