Canadian and reigning world champion Patrick Chan is one of the men taking the ice this weekend at the Trophee Eric Bompard event.
The event is the fifth of six event of the Grand Prix series, and it's one where the competition starts to get interesting.
"The Grand Prix season is always about development and where most of your growth is achieved," Chan explains to me in an email.
Chan has already won one Grand Prix title this season at Skate Canada - albeit not his best performance in either his short or free programs. As a favourite and my pick to win the event, his objectives are to improve in all areas.
"So my goal here at TEB [Trophee Eric Bompard] is just to skate a better short and long than I did at Skate Canada. Better quality skating and reaching out to the audience, as well as better quality of elements."
Although Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic won Skate America, I think it will be Cup of China's silver medallist Nobunari Oda from Japan who will give Chan the biggest run for his money. All three men are looking to qualify for the Grand Prix Final in Quebec City in December, and will need a podium finish in order to make this happen.
Italian Kostner holds edge
Italian Carolina Kostner is the reigning world bronze medallist and has already qualified for the Grand Prix Final. In a rule change this year, the top six in the world were offered the chance to compete in three Grand Prix events, which only two would count towards qualifying for the GP Final. Kostner is one of those skaters. She is the type who seems to get better as the season progresses and is using this event as added experience under pressure. It is this absence of pressure that I think will give her the edge.
There are two more Grand Prix champions looking to advance to Quebec City who are Kostner's biggest threats this weekend. Elizaveta Tuktamisheva from Russia is clean, consistent and confident, and the 14-year-old is also part of the group of young Russian women poised to take over the skating world. Skate America champion Alissa Czisny of the U.S., who edged out Kostner for the title in Ontario, Calif., earlier this year, has the poise and elegance to win this competition.
Canada's Virtue, Moir set to dazzle
In ice dance, I am interested to see how French champions Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat will perform. One of only two top six teams slated to compete at three Grand Prix competitions; they withdrew from their second event at Skate Canada while Bourzat recovered from severe bronchitis.
There is no doubt that they will medal here but I believe that the top spot is reserved for Canadians Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, who were dazzling in their gold-medal season opener at Skate Canada.
Russians Volosozhar, Trankov top pairs team
My pick for top spot in paris are the reigning world silver medalists from Russia, Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov. In only their second season together, they are impressive in terms of their technical elements, their speed and their power.
They won Skate Canada and are looking to earn a spot for their first Grand Prix Final as a team. That said, they left room for improvement in their free performance, so the Russians will have to be in top form to succeed here.
Keep your eye on Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford, who were the bronze medalists at Skate Canada and have the ability to challenge for the top spot.
It's shaping up to be a great competition in Paris.
Men: Patrick Chan, Canada
Ladies: Carolina Kostner, Italy
Pair: Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov, Russia
Dance: Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Canada
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