Ice Network

Italians edge past Chock, Bates in Nebelhorn short

Canada's Gilles, Poirier sit third; Top three teams separated by one point
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Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte hold a slim lead over Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates after the short dance in Oberstdorf, Germany. -Klaus-Reinhold Kany

With only one point separating the top three couples, Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy lead after the short dance at the 2016 Nebelhorn Trophy.

The 2014 world champions skated with good energy and a lively style to "Cry for Me" (from Broadway's Jersey Boys) and "Choo Choo Boogie" on their way to a score of 71.42. Their twizzle sequence and lift gained Level 4, and their three other elements rated Level 3. Their five program components averaged around 8.8.

"It was not perfect, and there is room for improvement, but we skated with passion and power," Cappellini said. "Right after worlds, we went to Broadway shows in New York. We saw Jersey Boys, and we liked it very much."

"We feel that we are not 100 percent ready, but we came here to test our shape and to get feedback from all the officials of the ISU who are here," Lanotte said.

World bronze medalists Madison Chock and Evan Bates of the U.S. sit second with 70.78 points. The U.S. silver medalists were well prepared for their first competition of the season.

"They have more speed and more athleticism this season," their coach, Igor Shpilband, said. "At Champs Camp three weeks ago, they got very positive reactions." 

Their blues portion, skated to "Bad to the Bone" by George Thorogood, was quite sultry, and their hip-hop section to "Uptown Funk" was skated with great speed.

Chock and Bates' levels, however, were lower than those of the Italians: Their lift, twizzles and partial step sequence gained just Level 2, and their remaining two elements earned Level 3. Their components averaged around 8.9.

"We are really happy with our performance today," Bates said. "This is our first competition of the season. We had to skate first, and it was exciting. We worked with Rohene Ward, and a different choreographer gave us a different style."

Canadians Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier, eighth at the 2016 World Championships, are third with 70.32 points. They interpreted the blues using "Oh What a Night for Dancing" by Barry White as well as the very lively "Disco Inferno." Both wore costumes and hairstyles reminiscent of the disco era.

The Canadians' levels were similar to those of the Italians, but their component scores were a bit lower.

"This is an extremely enjoyable competition," Poirier said. "(In our short dance) we play two people going out and having a great night together."

Two-time U.S. junior bronze medalists Elliana Pogrebinsky and Alex Benoit, also coached by Shpilband, are fourth with 63.06 points. They were very happy after learning they were awarded the host country spot at Skate America.

"This nomination gave us extra motivation," Pogrebinsky said.

The couple performed a blues and swing to Elvis Presley's "Trouble," showing long lines, good speed and big smiles.

German champions Kavita Lorenz and Joti Polizoakis sit fifth with 59.18 points. They interpreted two adaptations of Michael Jackson songs, "Come Together" and a hip-hop remix of "Black or White."

Another Shpilband team, Yura Min and Alexander Gamelin of South Korea, sit sixth with 55.38 points.