Grenoble / France

Two-time World Champions Gabriella Papadakis/Guillaume Cizeron, of France, won their home Grand Prix Ice Dance in style, recording a personal best as the Internationaux de France de Patinage continued in Grenoble Saturday. Madison Chock/Evan Bates (USA) claimed the silver medal and the bronze went to Russia’s Alexandra Stepanova/Ivan Bukin.

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Papadakis/Cizeron impressed once more in their Free Dance to ‘Moonlight Sonata’, executing difficult footwork and twizzles as well as beautiful lifts. The three-time European Champions collected a level four for all elements except the midline step sequence that was a level three and set a new highest score in the Free Dance with 120.58 points as well as overall with 201.98, to break their own record from the Audi Cup of China. “We are very happy with our scores. We had a very clean program,” Cizeron said. “We are very happy with the improvements we’ve made. The scores give us confidence, but not necessarily in relation to other competitors because it is difficult to compare different events.”

Chock/Bates’ dance to ‘Imagine’ by John Lennon featured excellent lifts and level-three footwork. However, Bates wobbled on the twizzles. The 2015 World silver medalists scored 108.30 points and totalled 181.85 points. “We felt great skating this evening,” Chock said. “This is one of our favorite programs that we ever had. Every time we perform it, it is definitely something special for us. We know it has a lot of room to grow and we did leave some points on the table, technically. We’re going home and really work on our elements and keep growing this program, because it can be something really, really special for us.”

Dancing to ‘Liebestraum’, Stepanova/Bukin produced four level-four elements including their trademark twizzle sequence. The national silver medalists earned 107.22 points and were ranked fourth in the Free Dance, but overall held on to third place at 177.24 points, taking their second bronze medal on the Grand Prix circuit this season. “We were pleased when our coaches told us that we skated with our soul, which means a lot to us. We’re extremely pleased to have taken third place again in our second Grand Prix,” Stepanova told the press conference.

Kaitlyn Weaver/Andrew Poje (CAN) delivered a strong Free Dance to ‘Je suis malade’, although Weaver had displaced her rib recently. On 176.97 points, they were edged out of the podium places by just 0.27 points and came fourth. Charlene Guignard/Marco Fabbri (ITA) placed fifth with a dance to ‘Exogenesis Symphony’ (171.01 points) and Angelique Abachkina/Louis Thauron (FRA) pulled up from eighth to sixth place on 155.55 points.

The Internationaux de France de Patinage are the fifth of six events of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Series that consists of six events and culminates in the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya (JPN) in December. The top six skaters/couples in each discipline qualify for the Final. The global prize money for the Grand Prix is US$272,000.

Full entry lists and results of the ISU Grand Prix of Figure Skating 2017/18 are available here.  Follow the discussion on social media by using #GPFigure #FigureSkating. 

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