Ice Network

Zagitova cruises to first gold of 2016 JGP Series

Carreira, Ponomarenko neck-and-neck with Abachkina, Thauron in dance
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Russia's Alina Zagitova claimed gold in her JGP debut. -Getty Images

Alina Zagitova won gold for Russia and France's Angélique Abachkina and Louis Thauron took a slim lead in ice dance at the Junior Grand Prix (JGP) in Saint Gervais, France, on Friday.

Ladies

Making her JGP debut, Zagitova comfortably won the ladies title over Japan's Kaori Sakamoto, coming away with 126.30 points for the free skate and an overall score of 194.37.

The Russian skater put out a flurry of triple jumps, including a triple lutz-triple loop combination that was the highest scoring element of the segment (12.31 points).

Sakamoto started her free to music from The Color Purple with three straight triple jumps. She finished with an overall score of 178.86 to earn silver, the second such medal of her JGP career.

Sakamoto's teammate, Rin Nitaya, took the bronze with 175.01 points. It was Nitaya's third career medal in the series.

Team USA's Alexia Paganini placed sixth in her JGP debut.

Ice dance

Less than one point separates France's Angélique Abachkina and Louis Thauron and Team USA's Christina Carreira and Anthony Ponomarenko following the short dance, with the French taking a 0.67-point advantage.

Abachkina and Thauron totaled 61.11 points for their Don Quixote routine. They were the only team in the competition to earn no worse than a Level 3 for any of their elements.

Carreira and Ponomarenko notched 60.44 points for their short to "Why Don't You Do Right?" from the Who Framed Roger Rabbit soundtrack and "A Cool Cat in Town" by Tape Five. The U.S. junior pewter medalists received Level 4's for both of their Blues patterns, their straight line lift and their twizzles.

Russia's Sofia Shevchenko and Igor Eremenko are in third place with 56.20 points.

Team USA's Eliana Gropman and Ian Somerville slotted into 10th with 44.31 points.