There is some firepower among the pairs at the European Championships this week. A couple of pairs who battled it out at the Grand Prix Final and are expected to be among the favorites at Worlds in two months will have a rematch here in Minsk.
European Championships predictions
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GOLD Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres FRA - Believe it or not, the last time a French pair won the European Championships was 87 years ago in 1932. And fresh off their win at the Grand Prix Final, where they beat Tarasova/Morozov, James/Cipres have the goods to win their first European title and stretch their international winning streak to five. This gold medal is very much within their grasps, and it would be a bit of practice for them heading into a potential matchup with Wenjing Sui/Cong Han at Worlds in March.
SILVER Evgenia Tarasova/Vladimir Morozov RUS - They are the two-time and defending champions and are once again favorites to take the title here. But there’s been something about Tarasova/Morozov’s confidence that just hasn’t translated into the types of solid programs that we have gotten used to from them. They have gone back to last season’s Rachmaninoff short program to perhaps do a bit of a reset going into Minsk. It may be a good call because it’s probably the best short program of their career.
BRONZE Aleksandra Boikova/Dmitrii Kozlovskii RUS - What an opportunity for the young Russian pair. The former World junior silver medalists have medaled in three of their four international events this season, and recently walked away with a bronze at the Russian Championships, no small feat considering how deep the Russian pair scene is. It has been quite the debut for these two, and a medal at their first Europeans is well within reach. They are stunning to watch.
4. Daria Pavliuchenko/Denis Khodykin RUS - I will do a quick repeat. What an opportunity for the young Russian pair. Like Boikova/Kozlovskii, Pavliuchenko/Khodykin are in their first senior season, and they have produced some fine results that sent them to the Grand Prix Final. Technically strong, they aren’t quite as refined as Boikova/Kozlovskii are, and that will be their biggest deficit should both teams skate well.
5. Nicole Della Monica/Matteo Guarise ITA - A career-high fifth at Worlds last season, Della Monica/Guarise haven’t quite been able to build on that momentum yet this season, having squandered a few opportunities to make a splash due to nervy skates. Nevertheless, they’ve been steady and made it to their first Grand Prix Final, where they finished fifth. A medal is very much a possibility.
6. Miriam Ziegler/Severin Kiefer AUT - After a string of fourth-place finishes (two of which were on the Grand Prix), Ziegler/Kiefer broke through with their first Challengers win at Tallinn Trophy. They have been under the radar a bit this season but will have a lot to offer in Minsk this week.
7. Minerva Fabienne Hase/Nolan Seegert GER - The new German champions have been having quite the solid season in their fifth year together. With only 11 pairs in the field, they are sure to grab a career-high finish, but it’s more about the content they put out there, which should also be the best of their career.
8. Rebecca Ghilardi/Filippo Ambrosini ITA - It’s been a couple years since Ghilardi/Ambrosini have competed at Europeans. They were 11th two years ago in their debut.