On paper, the matchup in the ladies' event at the 2015 Trophee Eric Bompard this week looks to be between World champ Elizaveta Tuktamysheva and former U.S. champ Gracie Gold. But there are a couple of other skaters who have definitely shown brilliance in the past and have the opportunity to make a splash. The whole field, honestly, is pretty unpredictable - not an easy one for people's Fantasy Skating teams, that's for sure.
Rocker Predictions: 2015 Trophee Eric Bompard
GOLD Gracie Gold USA - We haven't seen Gracie Gold put down a free skate as good as the one she did at Skate America in quite a long time. And her score reflected it. It remains to be seen if her triple flip will continue to stay on an inside edge before takeoff, because that's a strategy that she's using in the short program that could backfire if she gets that edge call. That said, Skate America Gracie looked confident, fit, and more committed to choreography than ever. Ashley Wagner won Skate Canada over Tuktamysheva two weeks ago, you better believe Gold will want to do the same thing.
SILVER Elizaveta Tuktamysheva RUS - Just a little uncertain so far this season for the new World champ. Tuktamysheva has a different approach this season, likely because she was feeling late-season fatigue last year after competing so much. And she isn't peaking yet, which explains why her triple axel has been both in and out of her programs so far this season. She's got all the goods to win in Bordeaux this week, but she will have to avoid the errors she had at Skate Canada that cost her the title there.
BRONZE Angela Wang USA - After a very solid start to her season, Angela Wang is my wildcard of the week. She's a talented jumper and a musical skater, and when she puts down clean programs, her international scores have the potential to be very strong. She spent most of last season popping jumps, and we found out that she was dealing with a nagging injury during much of it. But after a couple of strong competitions, Wang's outlook seems to be much brighter this season. I expect her to be the dark horse this week (famous last words).
4. Kanako Murakami JPN - Fourth at Skate America, Kanako Murakami surprised some (including me) with two solid programs that were a far cry from the inconsistency that she showed for most of last season. What dropped her scores time after time last season was popped and underrotated jumps, which she cleaned up at Skate America. It'll be interesting to see if she can go another competition doing the same, and if she does, the podium is definitely within reach.
5. Julia Lipnitskaia RUS - The 2014 World silver medalist looks more settled this season than she did last year, perhaps because she's somewhat come to terms with the fact that jumps are just a bit more difficult for her now than they used to be. Her skating has more joy and personality to it than last season, but her jumps are still not in great shape. In particular, the lutz is in tatters, and the loop is non-existent. But because she's still got a solid triple toe-triple toe and triple flip, she can place well in the short, which keeps her afloat in the overall standings.
6. Gabrielle Daleman CAN - With a fifth-place Skate Canada under her belt, Gabrielle Daleman has been solid in her first season as defending Canadian champ. She seems to be getting her consistency up this season, and her booming jumps do her a lot of good with the GOEs. She will be under the radar this week, but could definitely make some waves.
7. Mae Berenice Meite FRA - We haven't seen Meite compete this season yet except for a quick SP appearance at French Masters, so not too sure where she stands quite yet. She was experimenting with upgrading technical elements last season, which caused her to be less consistent at the beginning of the season. It'll be interesting to see if she comes back with harder elements again to start her GP.
8. Haruka Imai JPN - Tenth at Skate America three weeks ago, Imai looked more like the inconsistent skater we've been seeing the past couple of seasons than the confident one we saw at Autumn Classic earlier this season, where she took silver. Clean programs will put her in the top half of the bunch.
9. Roberta Rodeghiero ITA - Added to the lineup after Kiira Korpi announced her retirement, Rodeghiero will be making her Grand Prix debut. Her top 10 at Europeans last year was a career-best, and she won Lombardia to start this season.
10. Brooklee Han AUS - Han had a rough last season as she saw her consistency drop during the year, which ended with a 35th-place finish at Worlds. But her early-season results look more promising, with a seventh at Nebelhorn a few weeks back.
9. Angelina Kuchvalska LAT - Kuchvalska is a solid jumper whose basic skating keeps her low in the standings relative to what she delivers. She was 10th at Ondrej Nepela and took silver at Denkova-Staviski Cup.
12. Laurine Lecavelier FRA - Twice the French silver medalist, Lecavelier is skating in her second career Grand Prix. She started solidly this season with a bronze at Cup of Nice.