Evguenia Lopareva and Geoffrey Brissaud near the podium at the European Championship

Evguenia Lopareva and Geoffrey Brissaud near the podium at the European Championship

The hour has undoubtedly come for Brestoise Charlène Guignard, who has been skating since 2010 with Marco Fabbri for Italy. After two European bronze medals and a 4th place in the world last winter, they took the lead in the European Championship this Friday after the rhythmic dance (85.53 pts), just ahead of the British Lilah Fear and Lewis Gibson (84.12 pts). The title will be played between these two on Saturday in an event where the absence of the Russians, but also of Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron, the Olympic champions and five-time European and world champions, weighs particularly heavily.

To complete the podium, there are four couples to stand in just over a point, between the Finns Juulia Turkkila and Matthias Versluis, virtual 3rd (77.56 pts), and the French Evguenia Lopareva and Geoffrey Brissaud, for the instant 6th (76.49 pts). Obviously, while their elders are in the background, without knowing yet if they will return to the ice, it would be easy to dare to take a shortcut, to already imagine that Lopareva-Brissaud slipping among the medalists, forgetting that they were 9th during the 2022 European Championships. But these murmurs, these expectations, they evacuate them with a smile.

“It weighs from the moment we listen to theminsists Brissaud. I think we’re realistic enough to know where we want to go, and how we’re going to get there. Yes, we have the ambition to win medals one day. But we don’t want to cut corners. We are young, we are growing. “His partner since 2018 does not say anything else: “Of course, we talk a lot, we expect a lot from us. We make the connection all the more so since our book was created by Guillaume. But they are them, a superb couple. We must continue and draw our own path. We seek to succeed in a performance, without stopping at the place or the number of points. »

For this, the duo has chosen to go into exile regularly in Montreal. During their last training camp there after winning the national title in Rouen at the start of December, they were accompanied by their coach in Lyon, Roxane Petetin. “When the opportunity arose to go to Canada, we wondered why? Because there are a lot of high level couples there, stronger than us, that skating with them brings us a lot, just by watching, by letting ourselves be taken by the atmosphere and the energy”replies Lopareva. “It brings us in terms of emulation. They also have a lot of specialists, choreographersadds Brissaud. It complements and perfects what we have in Lyon. And we know Romain well. Working with him is very natural, in the same vein as the work we do every day. »

“We try to be less individuals on the ice and more a couple”

Progress is noticeable, visible. They materialized with a personal record beaten at the Budapest Trophy (2nd), just before a first podium at the French Grand Prix in Angers (3rd). “I don’t think it’s technicalunderlines Lopareva. But we have evolved on the connection between the two of us. Of course it’s far from perfect, but we’ve made a lot of progress in this direction. And it’s not easy, you need an open mind. For me, it was really difficult to open up, to show the emotions that I have inside of me. “And to share them with his partner. “We try to be less individuals on the ice and more a couplehe continues. From the moment we work in the same direction, that we have the same desires, we agreed to go through it. We do it more and more, forcing it to become natural. »

This aspect, the Belfortains Loicia Demougeot and Theo Le Mercier have already tamed. In the rhythmic dance, the students of Karine Arribert in Villard-de-Lans took 7th place (72.55 pts). “It’s not the best shorts we’ve done, but we beat our season best and we can be satisfied”comments Le Mercier. “Basically, we changed the first two parts of the program, and there were a few small hiccups in placement compared to each other”continues Demougeot, who signals a mistake before the lift. “Even in the physical commitment, it could have been better”raises his partner. “Maybe we preferred not to do too much so as not to make more mistakesjustifies the young woman. When we don’t feel too stable, we try to calm down, to reconnect together. »

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