Canada holds edge at Skate Canada

Marie-France Dubreuil and ice dance partner Patrice Lauzon maintained their lead at Skate Canada Friday night in Victoria.

Dancing to music "that gets under your skin,"a pair from Montrealwidened their lead at Skate Canada Friday night.

Marie-France Dubreuil and ice dance partner Patrice Lauzon overcame a minor mistake during their original dance program to increase their overall lead to 97.87 points at the event in Victoria B.C.

The up-and-coming team of Tessa Virtue of London, Ont., and Scott Moir of Ilderton, Ont., sit in second place with 83.63 points, while Italians Federica Faiella and Massimo Scali dropped to third with a score of 82.34.

The big lead significantly enhances Dubreuil and Lauzon's chances of winning the $180,000 US event heading into Sunday's free stake.

Skating a Spanish tango routine, Dubreuil lost her position during the footwork part of the program, but the couple was flawless the rest of the way.

"It's a fabulous piece of music and it gets under your skin," Dubreuil said.

"You go to the world championships and there are 30 girls with their hair tied up and they're dressed in black and red," Dubreuil explained. "So, when I do my costumes, I think of what the majority will wear and I try to go completely different."

Virtue and Moir, who were third after the compulsory portion Thursday, moved ahead of the Italians despite some technical errors in their program.

"It certainly wasn't perfect," Virtue said. "We had a little step down in the twizzles and the side-by-side sequence but we're really pleased with how it went.

"We felt like we really connected with each other as well as the audience so we're happy with that."

The 2006 world junior champions are surprising many with their stellar performance considering this is their first senior international competition.

"We still think we can improve a lot," Moir said. "The edges and footwork … and we probably can add more speed, so there's definitely room to grow."

With files from the Canadian Press