As we move onto the fifth Grand Prix of the season, there's still plenty to be excited about. For me, the ladies and pairs at Rostelecom Cup should be two thrilling events, both with loads of talent that make the podiums potentially very unpredictable.
Related: 2015 Rostelecom Cup entrants
1. Radionova leads the ladies
The favorite in the ladies' event is most certainly going to be World bronze medalist Elena Radionova. But then let's list out the other names who are podium-likely - Medvedeva, Hongo, Edmunds, Nagai. And then the eager dark horses - Chartrand, Kato, Miller, Helgesson. And don't forget that there's still a Russian TBD entry, who will be chosen from the pool of very talented Russian women. This should be a fun one.
2. Six strong pairs (at least)
Ksenia Stolbova/Fedor Klimov headline the pairs' event, with Peng/Zhang, Kavaguti/Smirnov, Marchei/Hotarek, Kayne/O'Shea, and Moore-Towers/Marinaro in the field. Or if we put that into numbers - Olympics #2, Worlds #4, Worlds #5, Worlds #11, U.S. #3, Canadian #4. There's a lot of firepower in this one.
3. What about Kozuka?
Former World silver medalist Takahiko Kozuka had quite the rough season last year, and for a while, it was one of those strings of performances that would scar most careers. Somehow, though, Kozuka pulled a miraculous free skate out of nowhere at Japanese Nationals to salvage his season (and get a berth at Worlds for a seventh time). Let's see if he is able to return to his former glory this season.
4. Can Ilinykh/Zhiganshin break through?
In their second season together, the Russian champs have the opportunity to make it a really good one. Why? Just take a look at their later-season results. At both Euros and Worlds, they posted short dance scores that were near 70, which put them in medal contention at both events. The free dance was their downfall last year, but given a stronger set of programs, they certainly have the components to be up there with the best. And they get to test that here at Rostelecom Cup against World bronze medalists Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje and former World champs Anna Cappellini/Luca Lanotte.
5. Fernandez in a new role
After a few years of almosts, Javier Fernandez finally made the leap to the top of the podium at Worlds. This coming season is all about how he deals with his new role as World champ. For him to retain his title, he's going to have to up his consistency - Hanyu is looking to improve on his inconsistent season, Chan is back, and Ten is always lurking in the wings.