Patrick Chan gets ready for Trophee Bompard event
Chinese star Yan Han to challenge Canadian skater
In what could be a preview of the Sochi Olympics, world figure skating champion Patrick Chan will face budding Chinese star Yan Han at the Trophee Bompard this weekend.
Chan, from Toronto, is a three-time world champ and won Skate Canada last month. The 17-year-old Yan, the 2012 junior world champ, won the Cup of China this month.
Other contenders include Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan, European runner-up Florent Amodio of France, Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic and Jason Brown of the United States.
Olympic champion Evan Lysacek of the U.S. is still sidelined by a hip injury.
Japanese skaters Daisuke Takahashi and Nobunari Oda lead the standings and skipped the event. Takahashi and Oda finished first and second respectively at the NHK Trophy last week.
In the women's competition, the field will be weaker as Kim Yu-na of South Korea, Mao Asada of Japan and Carolina Kostner of Italy are missing.
Kim pulled out of the Trophee Bompard because of a right foot injury. The Olympic champion will return to competition next month at the Golden Spin of Zagreb in Croatia, where she will display her 2014 Olympic programs for the first time.
Olympic silver medallist Asada tops the standings and has already qualified for the Dec. 5-8 Grand Prix Final in Fukuoka, Japan by winning Skate America and the NHK Trophy.
European champion Kostner will try to clinch a spot for the GP Final at the Cup of Russia next week after finishing third at the Cup of China.
The main contenders for the gold medal in Paris will be Anna Pogorilaya, Ashley Wagner of the United States and Adelina Sotnikova of Russia.
The 15-year-old Pogorilaya landed seven triple jumps in her free skate to win the Cup of China.
Wagner won the 2012 Trophee Bompard and finished second at Skate America last month while European runner-up Sotnikova took the silver medal at the Cup of China.
In pairs, Olympic runners-up Pang Qing and Tong Jian of China will compete against world bronze medallists Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and Eric Radford of Balmertown, Ont.
Duhamel and Radford look to rebound from a flawed free skate that made them slip from first to third at Skate Canada last month.
Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia are skipping the event. The world champions have already qualified for the Grand Prix Final by winning Skate America and the NHK Trophy.
In ice dance, Tessa Virtue, from London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., are the heavy favourites as their American rivals, Meryl Davis and Charlie White, are not participating. Davis and White won Skate America and the NHK Trophy to book a spot in the GP Final.
Virtue and Moir are the Olympic champions and took the gold medal at Skate Canada.
Outsiders include Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France and Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov of Russia.
The French duo won the the European championship in 2011 and 2012 and took the gold medal at the Cup of China this month.
Ilinykh and Katsalapov are the 2013 European runners-up and finished fourth at the NHK Trophy.
The Trophee Bompard begins on Friday with short programs and short dance.
The Cup of Russia next week in Moscow will be the last chance for skaters to qualify for the GP Final, which will feature the top six skaters in each category.
Watch the Trophee Eric Bompard and chat live with figure skating analyst Pj Kwong on Saturday at 3 p.m. ET.