With just under three weeks left to go before the World Championships take place, this year Challenge Cup is a good warm up for the top contenders for the podium.
Amodio had an error on his opening quad salchow but skated a strong program, with a triple lutz-triple toe and a triple axel. The judges gave him the only score over 80 points and he currently leads for over three points the rest of the competitors.
Brian attempted the most technically difficult program of the competition, putting two quads (a quad toe-double toe and a quad salchow) in his short program for the first time in his career, though neither of them was completely clean. He finds himself in second. I really like Brian's program, and love this execution. When Brian believes it, it shows in his skating. And he even seems... more sexy. (But I didn't say it!)
Abbott fell twice, first on an underrotated quad toe and then on his triple axel. Maybe his chronically sore hip is still causing him some problems, after forcing him to withdraw from the Four Continents Championships a month ago. After the two falls, which costed him 2 points of deduction, Abbott recovered to hit a triple lutz-triple toe combination and is still in contention for the gold thanks to the strongest component marks of the 16 men.
Samuel is in fourth after a mistake on his triple axel, but a well lended triple lutz-triple flip combo. I really like Samuel's lively program. Even if I'd choose a different colours combo: I don't know if it's the low quality of the video, but that lemon yellow doesn't suit him very well...