Chan, Rochette 1st after Paris short program

Toronto's Patrick Chan and Joannie Rochette of Ile-Dupas, Que., are in first place after their respective short programs at the Trophée Eric Bompard in France.

Toronto's Patrick Chan and Joannie Rochette of Ile-Dupas, Que., are in first place after their respective short programs at the Trophée Eric Bompard in France.

Chan landed his triple Axel to score 81.39 points and take the lead at the fourth International Skating Union Grand Prix event on Friday.

"Even though I was landing [the Axel] last year, it is still a big deal for me," said Chan. "It's been giving me problems since Skate Canada and I haven't been consistent with it in training."

Rochette, 22, followed that impressive achievement later in the evening by scoring 59.54 in her short program. Rochette won the Trophée Bompard competition four years ago.

The free skate will take place on Saturday at Bercy Arena in Paris. will stream Saturday's competitions beginning at 7:30 a.m. ET.

Chan, 17, skated next-to-last. He is looking to follow up a win earlier this month at Skate Canada in Ottawa by repeating as champion at the site of his first major international win last season.

"Everything that was supposed to happen went the way I wanted," he said. "My goal here is to do better than at Skate Canada and right from the start I felt a lot more comfortable on the ice."

The final skater, 2007 world champion Brian Joubert of France, garnered 73.75 points for third place. Japan's Takahiko Kozuka, who won Skate America, is second with 77 points.

Rochette fell attempting a triple flip/triple toe loop combination, but recovered well to finish just ahead of Mao Asada of Japan.

"When I went into my first flip, I don't know what happened," said Rochette. "Jumps happen so fast you don't have time to think. My practice was going well. When you go into a competition, it's a different thing."

Rochette placed ahead of world champion Asada, who was making her first Grand Prix appearance this year. Asada had 58.12 points, well ahead of 15-year-old  Caroline Zhang of the United States at 51.76.

American Bebe Liang, who finished sixth at Skate Canada, is in fourth. France's Candice Didier and Gwendoline Didier, no relation, occupy the next two spots.

Duhamel, Buntin in podium position

France's Alban Preaubert is fourth, with Americans Ryan Bradley and Brandon Mroz occupying the next two spots.

Canadian pairs skaters Meagan Duhamel of Lively, Ont., and partner Craig Buntin of Kelowna, B.C., are in third after their short program. The duo totalled 58.66 points.

They finished fourth at Skate America.

"We were just thinking too much during our programs at Skate America," said Duhamel. "We took a new approach this time and it was nice to see us take a step up."

Reigning world champions Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany lead with 68.18 points. Russia's Maria Mukhortova and Maxim Trankova are second with 64.84.

In ice dance, world champions Isabelle Delobel and Olivier Schoenfelder of France dominated the compulsory program and remained in top spot following a third-place performance in original dance.

The French skaters lead the overall competition with 93.21 points.

Italian's Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali are second 90.25 after winning the original dance.

British siblings Sinead Kerr and John Kerr stand third with 87.84.

Vanessa Crone of Aurora, Ont., and Paul Poirier of Unionville, Ont., are fourth with a score of 84.46. The duo won silver at Skate Canada in Ottawa on Nov. 2.

With files from the Canadian Press

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