Virtue and Moir lead after first dance

Eurosport - Tue, 23 Mar 15:00:00 2010

Olympic ice dance champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir raced into the lead with a season's best compulsory dance at the World Figure Skating Championships in Turin.

Tessa Virtue (L) and Scott Moir of Canada perform during the ice dance compulsory dance event at the World Figure Skating Championships in Turin - 0

In what is considered their weakest dance of the three, the Canadian duo glided through their routine, looking at ease throughout with the pressure well and truly off their shoulders in Italy.

And while the pair have dodged questions on their commitment to the next Olympic cycle, there was no doubting their determination to add a first world title to their Olympic crown as they scored 44.13 to lead the way by 0.88.

Virtue and Moir played second fiddle to Russian duo Oksana Domnina and Maxim Shabalin in the compulsory dance in Vancouver last month but the Russians opted not to defend their title in Turin, leaving the Olympic champions natural successors to the throne.

And the Canadians admitted their Olympic experience hadn't distracted their focus of improving on silver in 2008 and bronze last year to capture an elusive world title.

"It's going to be a tough week but hopefully a really good one and we're excited to be out here at an Olympic venue," said Moir.

"It was a crazy experience to win Olympic gold in front of our home crowd but we always wanted to do well at the worlds.

"So we went back to training and got on with things as soon as possible and couldn't wait to get back on the ice here."

Meanwhile, USA's Meryl Davis and Charlie White, who were the Canadians' closest challengers in Vancouver, also recorded a season's best of 43.25 to emerge as Virtue and Moir's main rivals once again.

Meanwhile, home favourites Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali lead the race for bronze after a stirring performance in front of a partisan crowd.

The Italians scored a season's best 40.85 but have three couples snapping at their heels with France's Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat, Russia's Jana Khokhlova and Sergei Novitski and Great Britain's Sinead and John Kerr all within 3.5 points.

Figure Skating World Championships:

Pairs Short Programme - Tuesday 6.10pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player

Men's Short Programme - Wednesday 1pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player

Pairs Free Programme - Wednesday 5.30pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player

Original Dance - Thursday 11.45am & 2.45pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player

Men's Free Skate - Thursday 8pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player

Ladies Short Programme - Friday 12.30pm & 2.45pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player

Free Dance - Friday 8pm LIVE on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player

Ladies Free Skate - Saturday 6pm on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player

Exhibition - Sunday 6.15pm on British Eurosport (Sky 410 / Virgin 521) and Eurosport Player

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