France's Papadakis, Cizeron break world record to lead at worlds

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Milan (AFP)

France's Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron put themselves on course for a third world title achieving a world record score in the short programme at the world figure skating championships on Friday.

With the new record of 83.73 points, the 2015 and 2016 world champions led Americans Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donohue (80.42) and the Canadians Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje (78.31).

The French lost their world title last year to Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir and finished second again behind the Canadians in Pyeongchang Olympic Games after a "nightmare" wardrobe malfunction when Papadakis's costume became unclipped during the short programme.

To a Samba-Rhumba-Samba routine they bettered the previous best short programme score of 83.67 achieved by Virtue and Moir at the Olympics. The Canadians are not defending their world title this week.

The competition continues on Friday with the women's free skating final.

Fifteen-year-old Russian prodigy Alina Zagitova will bid to add the women's world title to her Olympic gold.

She placed second in the short programme just 0.76 behind 31-year-old Italian Carolina Kostner who is looking to end her 14-year world career on a high with a second world title after winning in 2012.