Chan headlines strong field at Trophee Bompard
BORDEAUX, France (AP) After capping his return to figure skating with a gold medal at Skate Canada, Patrick Chan is odds on to win a fifth Trophee Eric Bompard title in France this weekend.
Chan took a year off after the Sochi Olympics to avoid a burnout, and the three-time world champion has come back fresh and hungry for more success.
He topped Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu for first place at Skate Canada with a beautiful long program that made up for the numerous mistakes in his short.
He will compete at the French event for the sixth time, having won in 2007, 2008, 2011, and 2013.
His main threat at Meriadeck ice rink could come from American Max Aaron, who surprisingly won at Skate America ahead of Shoma Uno of Japan. Uno and Bompard defending champion Maxim Kovtun of Russia, who is competing in his first Grand Prix event this season, are also among the contenders.
Halfway through the seven-event series, Aaron is looking to book his spot at the Grand Prix Final in December for the first time.
In the women's competition, world champion Elizaveta Tuktamysheva of Russia chases her first win after a confidence-boosting recovery that saw her climb from seventh after the short program to a second at Skate Canada. Among her rivals is American skater Gracie Gold, looking for another podium after her second place at Skate America.
Ice dancing world champions Gabriella Papadakis and Gullaume Cizeron withdrew after Papadakis sustained a head injury, the French federation said. The pair will also miss the NHK Trophy as a precaution measure.
Papadakis fell on her head in training in August and hopes to return to competition at the French championships in December. Frenchman Florent Amodio is also planning a comeback at the same event. He retired from the men's competition in Bordeaux because of an ankle injury.
In the pairs, Olympic champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov return to the series after taking a year off.