Reuters - Thu, 25 Mar 16:25:00 2010
Olympic champions Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir flashed some Flamenco flair to strengthen their grip on the ice dance competition at the world figure skating championships in Turin.
The Canadian duo, who topped the compulsory dance on Tuesday, maintained their lead by again finishing first and setting a season's best with an original dance filled with complicated lifts and Spanish hand claps.
With just Friday's free dance remaining, Virtue and Moir have 114.40 points overall ahead of Meryl Davis and Charlie White in second.
The Americans, who took silver at the Vancouver Games last month, reached a combined 112.54 with their Indian folk routine.
Italy's Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali, considering retirement after the worlds, stayed in third.
Turin's Palavela arena, which hosted the 2006 Olympic event, was brought to life by an array of imaginative folk dances which included Scots dressed in tartan skating to bagpipe music.
Japanese skaters also used hand-fans like samurai swords while Australians danced to a didgeridoo.
Ukraine's Anna Zadorozhniuk and Sergei Verbillo pulled out before the segment with the former suffering back pain.
Thursday's competition continues with the men's free programme, with Japan's Daisuke Takahashi the hot tip for gold after building a good lead in Wednesday's short programme.
Figure Skating – World Championships:
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