Early Forerunners - Pairs
After assessing Int B events and the Grand Prix Series I thought I would make a start of the favourites for the upcoming European Championships to be held in Sheffield - GB.
Favourite's: Volosozhar/Trankov - Russia
I am going to go with V/M because I love both their programs this year and they have improved so much. Great speed and flow with great tricks. More consistent I would say than S/S, I give them the nod here, but it will be close.
Closest Challenger: Savchenko/Szolkowy - Germany
Going through their personal transitional year has not been easy, maybe next year they will be much improved, but they seem to be thinking too much within their program to "Pina" choreographically that they lose the impetus. They do struggle with their jumps from time to time but if they are on song they should win. I do love their programs this year and great to see them go in a new direction, as leaders of their sport you do like to see the champions take it forward like T/D did in Ice Dance so great move by them and Ingo, maybe they will be more prepared for World's - we will see.
Kavaguti/Smirnov - Russia
I really do love their LP to "Clare De Lune" and I would say better than the top 2 I have mentioned (can be very emotional and a crowd pleaser). They will need to nail everything though to compete with the top 2 and cause an upset, they seem to be trailing a bit to the top 2 in both TES and PCS. But a medal should be there for them but which colour?
Bazarova/Larionov - Russia
I assume they will be in the top 3 of Nationals to compete here. Vera is so balletic, they can look wonderful on the ice but I feel they are not as sharp as they were last year. Not a huge fan of their programs, will struggle to make the top 3.
I would say they are the top 4, but watch out for the much improved Berton/Hotarek - Italy who have a great chemistry on the ice and their programs can look very lovely on the ice and also Hausch/Wende - Germany who seem to have got better over the past 2 seasons.