Canadian ice dancers Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir are in unfamiliar territory at the Grand Prix of Figure Skating Final in Nagoya, Japan.
Rather than leading the pack following Thursday’s short dance competition, the duo are in second place heading into Friday’s free dance.
French skaters Gabriella Papdakis and Guillaume Cizeron are in first place with a score of 82.07, while Virtue and Moir have 81.53 – trailing the leaders by 0.54 points.
“The plan is to peak in February [at the Olympics] and we are on track,” Virtue said. “Our performance was a step up from what we did this season on the Grand Prix circuit.”
The ice dance competition wraps with the free dance on Saturday (3:55 a.m. ET, CBCSports.ca).
“Hopefully we can have another great skate Saturday and build our confidence for the Olympics,” said Moir.
In pairs action, Canadians Meagan Duhamel and Eric Radford are in fifth place after the short program.
Germany’s Aljona Savchenko and Bruno Massot hold the lead with a score of 79.43, followed by Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov of Russia (78.83), and China’s Wenjing Sui and Cong Han (75.82).
Duhamel and Radford sit 7.25 points behind the Germans, picking up 72.18 points for their routine, which included a mistake on their side-by-side triple Lutz and throw triple Lutz.
“The throw was a little bit stuck on take-off which resulted in not the same flow when I came out,” Duhamel said. “Still, we were committed to our performance and we felt pretty good about it.”
Chen in prime position
On the men’s side, American Nathan Chen has the lead after the short, scoring 103.32 to lead his closest competitors, Shoma Uno of Japan (101.51) and Mikhail Colyada of Russia (99.22).
Skating to “Nemesis,” the American opened with a quad lutz, triple toe loop combination and added a quad flip and a triple axel for 103.32 points.
“I made a couple of mistakes on the landing of both quads,” Chen said. “But the triple axel was improved from Skate America so I am happy with that and looking forward to tomorrow.”
Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu is still recovering from a leg injury sustained during practice at last month’s NHK Trophy and is not competing.