As you may have guessed by now, the last weekend before the Grand Prix starts is absolutely jam-packed with high-profile competitions. Coupe de Nice is one of the older, more traditional events and is regularly well-attended, though attendance this year may have suffered from the date clash with the Skate Canada Autumn Classic and the higher-ranked Challenger Event in Russia.
The Coupe de Nice as always is held in Nice, this year from October 15-18, and holds a Senior B designation on the ISU calendar.
The men's field here is very tight, and difficult to pick who will come out on top. Nevertheless, my pick for this event is the young Russian star Alexander Petrov. Petrov made a promising Senior debut last year and is coached by the legendary Alexei Mishin, resulting in a strong and reliable jump technique. Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic can also never be counted out, while the even younger Russian Dmitry Aliev has a lot of positive hype around him and could find himself in the mix.
On the home field front Chafik Besseghier of France is always in the hunt for a good finish, while the newly-French Alexander Zahradnicek will be hoping to make a strong impression for his new country. Italy's Ivan Righini is guaranteed to entertain, as are Alexander Majorov of Sweden and Jorik Hendrix of Belgium.
The big name of the ladies' event is the reigning World Champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva, who last year used the Coupe de Nice as her launchpad for an incredible comeback season that saw her win all but one international that she entered. By the end of the season Tuktamysheva had competed fifteen times, an unheard-of number, and had established herself as the ladies' World Champion in a turnaround so incredible skating fans will be talking about it for years to come.
Compatriot Alena Leonova will be looking for somewhat of a redemption skate here, after making several errors in her performances at the Nebelhorn Trophy two weeks ago. Nathalie Weinzierl from Germany will also be one to watch here.
The pairs competition provides an excellent opportunity for German pair Mari Vartmann and Ruben Blommaert to establish themselves. As a brand new pair, such opportunities will only create more opportunities, and the ranking points gained from a win here will be valuable for later assignments. The field at Coupe de Nice is primarily composed of pairs seeking their technical minimum score for Europeans, which often makes such competitions much more exciting.
The same can be said of the Ice Dance competition, which though not large, is packed with quality couples aiming to make their mark on their National standings and the technical minimums. Unlike the other three disciplines, the field here is nearly impossible to predict, as any of the eight couples could be in contention. Perhaps you could take a look and decide, though you'll probably find it as difficult as I do!
All times AEDT.
Short Program - Saturday 17th October - 12:45am - 3:45am
Long Program - Sunday 18th October - 1:45am - 5:15am
Short Program - Saturday 17th October - 9:05pm - 12:05am (Sunday)
Long Program - Sunday 18th October - 6:45pm - 9:45pm
Short Program - Friday 16th October - 10:30pm - 11:30pm
Long Program - Sunday 18th October - 10:00pm - 11:10pm
Short Dance - Saturday 17th October - 4:40am - 5:40am
Free Dance - Sunday 18th October - 6:00am - 7:30am
Monday 19th October - 3:30am - 6:30am