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GP CAN Cheng Peng Yang Jin CNH Vanessa James Morgan Cipres FRA  Kirsten Moore Towers Michael Marinaro CAN CREDIT ISU 1054409936

Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN), Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA) and Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro (CAN)

Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres of France skated to their first Grand Prix gold medal with 20 points to spare as the Skate Canada International continued on Saturday. China’s Cheng Peng/Yang Jin claimed the silver and the bronze went to Canadians Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro.

GP CAN Vanessa James Morgan Cipres FRA 2018 CREDIT ISU 1054327906

Vanessa James/Morgan Cipres (FRA) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

James/Cipres turned in a stunning performance to “Wicked Game” and “The Last Feeling”, producing a triple twist, side by side triple toe-double toe and triple Salchow, as well as a throw triple Lutz and Salchow plus impressive lifts. The World bronze medalists set a new season’s best with 147.30 points in the Free Skating and racked up 221.81 points overall.

“We are really happy with the performance we did today, it was better than yesterday. I’m really proud to win this competition, because again today it was a big fight on the ice and everyone skated really well,” Cipres said. “We are very proud of this gold medal here but even more so about of the performance we made in that group full of great skaters and great performances. It gives us confidence,” James added.

GP CAN Cheng Peng Yang Jin CHN 2018 Credit ISU 1054327446

Cheng Peng/Yang Jin (CHN) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Skating to “La Vie en Rose”, Peng/Jin landed a triple twist, throw triple loop and Salchow, but they doubled the side by side Salchow and Peng was shaky on the triple toe combination. The team from Beijing ranked fourth in the Free Skating with 129.08 points, but overall held on to second place at 201.08 points.

“We missed the jumps, but the other elements were okay and the GOE was good. We just need to improve the jumps. We love our programs this year and a big thank you goes to Lori Nichol (choreographer). She gave us so much help to show more emotions and our connection,” Jin said.

GP CAN Kirsten Moore Towers Michael Marinaro CAN 2018 CREDIT ISU 1054327236

Kirsten Moore-Towers/Michael Marinaro (CAN) 2018©International Skating Union (ISU)

Moore-Towers/Marinaro’s program to a Pink Floyd medley featured a triple twist, solid throw jumps and a triple toe, but the triple Salchow in the combination with a double Axel was downgraded. The Canadians picked up 129.67 points and accumulated 200.93 points overall.

“It was a personal victory to go out in a group such as this one, of very capable and impressive pair teams,” Moore-Towers said. “Our goals are mainly to improve on our performances each time. We started with a rough competition at Autumn Classics, we were a little bit better in Finlandia (Trophy) and a little bit better again here.”

The 2017 World Junior silver medalists Aleksandra Boikova/Dmitrii Kozlovskii (RUS) came second in the Free Skating with a flawless performance to “The Nutcracker”, but remained in fourth place at 196.54 points. Evelyn Walsh/Trennt Michaud (CAN) pulled up from sixth to fifth place (172.53 points).