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World Team Trophy: Forecasting the competition

Race for gold looks to come down to U.S., Canada

Will Max Aaron be pumping his fist in celebration of a U.S. victory in Tokyo?
Will Max Aaron be pumping his fist in celebration of a U.S. victory in Tokyo? (Getty Images)

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By icenetwork.com
(04/09/2013) - The 2013 World Team Trophy takes place April 11-14 in Tokyo. Icenetwork.com sizes up the fields in each event and makes its prediction for who will come out on top in the competition.

Ladies

Haves: Japan, United States, Russia
Have-nots: Canada, China, France

The host country has the strongest one-two punch in this event in the form of two-time world champion Mao Asada and 2012 world bronze medalist Akiko Suzuki. The U.S. ladies, Ashley Wagner and Gracie Gold, are coming off solid performances at the 2013 World Figure Skating Championships and should fare well here. The most unpredictable of the top duos are Russia's Elizaveta Tuktamisheva and Adelina Sotnikova, both of whom have the ability to challenge the Japanese and Americans, but who too often fail to skate to their talent level.

Predicted order of finish:

1. Asada (12 points)
2. Wagner (11)
3. Suzuki (10)
4. Tuktamisheva (9)
5. Gold (8)
6. Sotnikova (7)
7. Kaetlyn Osmond (6)
8. Zijun Li (5)
9. Maé Bérénice Méité (4)
10. Kexin Zhang (3)
11. Gabrielle Daleman (2)
12. Lenaelle Gilleron-Gorry (1)

Men's

Haves: Canada, Japan, United States
Have-nots: France, Russia, China

Japan is hurt by not having Yuzuru Hanyu, but Takahito Mura is a more than competent replacement. On the U.S. side, Max Aaron has proven he belongs with the big boys; it will be interesting to see how Jeremy Abbott performs, seeing as he has not competed in almost three months, since his frustrating third-place finish at the 2013 U.S. Figure Skating Championships. But it is Canada that has the upper hand in this event, with reigning three-time world champion Patrick Chan and Four Continents champion Kevin Reynolds, who's establishing himself as a formidable force.

Predicted order of finish:

1. Chan (12)
2. Takahashi (11)
3. Reynolds (10)
4. Aaron (9)
5. Abbott (8)
6. Mura (7)
7. Han Yan (6)
8. Brian Joubert (5)
9. Maxim Kovtun (4)
10. Konstantin Menshov (3)
11. Yi Wang (2)
12. Romain Ponsart (1)

Pairs

Haves: Russia, Canada
Have-nots: France, United States, China

Unless something wacky happens, this is a clear victory for the Russians and a second-place finish for Canada. How the other three shake out is somewhat less predictable. France's Vanessa James and Morgan Ciprès would appear to have the inside track for the third spot, but they are no sure thing; Marissa Castelli and Simon Shnapir can beat them, but they have to skate better than they did at the world championships. China's Cheng Peng and Hao Zhang haven't shown much in their first season together.

Predicted order of finish:

1. Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov (12)
2. Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford (11)
3. James and Ciprès (10)
4. Castelli and Shnapir (9)
5. Peng and Zhang (8)

Ice Dancing

Haves: Canada, United States
Have-nots: France, Russia, Japan, China

The lack of star power in this event -- none of the top teams from Canada, the U.S., Russia or France are making the trip to Tokyo -- makes it somewhat less intriguing. Canada's Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje should come away with the victory, but they will have to hold off a stiff charge from Americans Madison Chock and Evan Bates. The battle for third is between Ksenia Monko and Kirill Khaliavin, and Pernelle Carron and Lloyd Jones; the guess here is the French sneak past the Russians.

Predicted order of finish:

1. Weaver and Poje (12)
2. Chock and Bates (11)
3. Carron and Jones (10)
4. Monko and Khaliavan (9)
5. Cathy Reed and Chris Reed (8)
6. Xiaoyang Yu and Chen Wang (7)

Final Team Standings

1. United States (56)
2. Canada (53)
3. Japan (48)
4. Russia (44)
5. France (31)
6. China (31)