Gilles and Poirier place fourth at season-opening Grand Prix

MOSCOW – Piper Gilles and Paul Poirier of Toronto placed fourth in ice dancing on Saturday to conclude the Rostelecom Cup – the first stop on the ISU Grand Prix figure skating circuit.

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani of the U.S. won the gold medal with 189.24 points. Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia were second at 184.74 and their compatriots Alexandra Stepanova and Ivan Bukin third at 179.35.

Gilles and Poirier followed at 172.29.

“We did what we needed to do here,” said Gilles. “It’s a good start for us.”

“This is the start of a marathon,” added Poirier, about this Olympic season. “We want to make sure we are peaking at the right time.”

Russians swept the podium in pairs led by Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov with the gold. Julianne Séguin of Longueuil, Que., and Charlie Bilodeau of Trois-Pistoles, Que., remained fifth.

“We left a lot of points of the table,” said Séguin. “Still it’s a good start. We had a solid short program and our long just needs some tweaking and more performance mileage.”

The pair made mistakes on both side-by-side jumps.

“There was some nervousness,” said Bilodeau. “We had some issues in training this week and that can affect your confidence.”

In men’s competition, Nathan Chen of the U.S. reeled off four quads en route to the gold medal with 293.79.  He upset Olympic champion Yuzuru Hanyu of Japan in second at 290.77 while Mikhail Kolyada of Russia was third at 271.06.

Nam Nguyen of Toronto produced the sixth best free skate but remained seventh overall at 238.45. Skating to An American in Paris, he opened with a perfect quad-toe but fell on his following quad-Salchow. The rest of the skate was clean including two triple Axels (one in combination).

“I’m disappointed,’’ said Nguyen. “I was hoping to put in a really good performance. I need to go back and work out the kinks and come back feeling 100 percent confident.”

The next stop on the circuit is Skate Canada International this Friday and Saturday (October 27-28) in Regina.

Full results: ISU GP Rostelecom Cup 2017

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