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.

Dance:

Have not watched much of the Dance this season, so I will assess as best as I can. I have lost some admiration of this discipline, not sure why but I feel I am not a great lover of the new SD and we have lost a lot of the innovative teams of years gone past. I just don't know how the judges separate them when they are all doing the same elements. Also seems to be a sameness when we come to the marina/Igor teams (but of course that will be world's).

Favourites - Bobrova/Soloviev - Russia

Have been better this couple of seasons, the SD is very lively but not too sure on their new FD. I have given them favourite status as I think they may well snatch the Gold this time around. It will be close but you feel Russia is due for another Ice Dance Title.

Close Favourite's - Pechalat/Bourzat - France

I feel for Nathalie and Fabian, they were doing so well with Zhulin, that the new coaching team has taken them a step backwards rather than a step forward. I truly felt they might have given up after another 4th spot at world's but their back to defend, but B/S are hot on their heels and it will be very close between the two. Always come up with something different, they are one of my favourite teams out there and probably one of the last of the innovative teams around. Their SD and FD are very good but I have seen better programs from them in the past.

Other challenger's

Cappelini/Lanotte- Italy

A team that have got back on track, always a couple full of exuberance and expression. Their SD is probably one of the best, not in favour of their FD but it is still fun, great to watch, possibly a medal here.

Ilinyk/Katasalapov - Russia

They burst on the scene last year but like P/B have taken a step backward this year which is very unlike the Russian teams. Their FD to modern take on Ave Maria is very nice, but the team still lacks a spark about them, lets hope it is a transition year, they will battle with C/L for a medal.