Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada were the clear leaders in dance Friday evening at Trophée Bompard in Paris, France. France’s Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat trail the Canadians by 4.66 points, finishing ahead of Italy’s Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte.
Virtue and Moir turned in a lively short dance to Samba and Rhumba, earning only positive Grades of Execution (GOE) for their elements. Their smooth Rhumba sequences both earned a level three, while their twizzles and curve lift earned a level four. They were awarded a level 3 for their side by side footwork. The Olympic Champions scored 71.18 points, less than on point below their score from Skate Canada.
“Tessa and I felt like we were ready to go for it tonight,” said Moir. “We felt that we made a couple of mistakes, but I think they were just mistakes that Tessa and I would notice between each other. When we got back to the boards Marina (Zueva, coach) was happy. Since Skate Canada we tried to build the program a bit more. I think we were successful at doing that. It’s been a lot stronger in training.”
Pechalat and Bourzat were much improved over Skate America where Bourzat was sick with bronchitis. Now their Samba was fast paced and characteristic. The French produced a difficult curve lift with changes of position and earned a level three and four for the Rhumba sequences to earn a season’s best of 66.52 points.
“We are happy with the performance tonight,” said Bourzat. “It is way better since at Skate America. We had a hard time there, and we lost a lot of practice [time], but we got back on track. We still have to improve on this Short Dance, but it was a good performance tonight.”
There was only one setback – Bourzat lost his shoes and had to walk barefoot to the press room.
“He took the shoes off where we were warming up and when we came back, they were gone,” Pechalat explained.
The couple wasn’t sure if someone had just found the shoes and put them away or if a crazy fan got them as a trophy.
Cappellini and Lanotte followed up on their strong showing from Skate Canada with another good short dance.The Italians were the only dance team tonight to earn a level four for both Rhumba sequences, and collected a new season’s best with 64.62 points.
“We were already happy with our performance at Skate Canada, so tonight it was a nice confirmation that our program is very well received,” said Cappellini. “We also feel like we skated nice and clean. We still can do better. We try to make [it] stronger in practice.”
Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia were expressive in their Samba short dance, however, low levels cost them. The Rhumba sequences and the side by side footwork garnered a level two, and as a result, they are rather far behind with 58.17 points.
USA’s Madison Chock and Evan Bates were invited as replacement of France’s Tiffany Zahorski and Alexis Miart, and looked solid again. The twizzles and the straight line lift were graded a level four while the first Rhumba sequence was a level three. The Americans left a few points on the table as the second Rhumba sequence and the side by side footwork only merited a level two. The Americans placed fifth with 52.01 points.
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