Patrick Chan capped an unbeaten season by successfully defending his world figure skating championship Saturday in Nice with a solid free skate.

"It means the world to me ... this kind of was the big test and I think I learned a lot from this competition that I'm going to take to Sochi [for the Olympics] in two years time," Chan told CBC.

Skating to Adagio from Concierto de Aranjuez by Joaquin Rodrigo, Chan was flawless with his opening quad jump and landed his other quad attempt.

The program was not without problems. Chan held on to stay upright on a triple-double Salchow, and just after the halfway point fell before getting airborne on a double Axel attempt.

The 21-year-old from Toronto recovered with exquisite footwork and landed his final jumps to secure the title.

Chan finished with 176.70 points in the free, giving him an overall total of 266.11.

"It isn't me if I don't make at least one little freaky mistake. It was great, it was a little touch of Patrick at the end," he said.

Chan won his first title in Moscow last year, skating first in the final fleet of six skaters. He said Saturday that being the last skater this time around was more nerve-racking.

Japan took the other spots on the podium.

Former world champion Daisuke Takahashi was second with 259.66, moving up one spot from Friday's short program.

Countryman Yuzuru Hanyu, 17, was joyous on his way to the podium for the medal ceremony after going from seventh to third with an overall total of 251.06 points.

Michal Brezina of the Czech Republic plummeted, going from second after the short program to seventh overall.

Kevin Reynolds of Coquitlam, B.C., finshed 12th with 217.20 points, guaranteeing Canada three places in the men's competition next year when the worlds come to London, Ont.

It was not a good day for the Americans. Jeremy Abbott was eighth while Adam Rippon was 13th. They were fifth and sixth, respectively, at last year's worlds.

Lacoste struggles

Chan's accomplishment represents the 11th victory for Canadian men in 26 world championships dating back to Brian Orser's 1987 win. Kurt Browning (four), Elvis Stojko (three) and Jeffrey Buttle also won for Canada.

Donald Jackson and Don McPherson won gold for Canada in the early 1960s.

The world title caps an unbeaten season for Chan, who also won at Skate Canada, Trophee Bompard, the Grand Prix final and Four Continents. The five-time Canadian champion also won the 2011 Lou Marsh Award, given to Canada's top athlete.

Italian Carolina Kostner won the world title that has long eluded her, while Canada's Amelie Lacoste was a disappointing 16th.

Kostner, with a history of disappointments on the world stage, captured the crown with a score of 189.94, while Russia’s Alena Leonova won the silver with 184.28, and Akiko Suzuko of Japan took the bronze with 180.68.

Lacoste, from Delson, Que., had a rough night, falling twice and doubling two planned triple jumps to finish with 138.60.

With files from The Canadian Press