- Associated Press - Friday, March 28, 2014

SAITAMA, Japan (AP) - European champions Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy finished first in the ice dance short program Friday at the Figure Skating World Championships.

Cappellini and Lanotte received 69.70 points to edge Kaitlyn Weaver and Andrew Poje of Canada by just .50 points. Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France were third with 68.20 points.

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev, the top-ranked Russians in the event, were forced to withdraw after Soloviev sustained a groin injury in the morning practice.

Defending champions and Olympic gold medalists Meryl Davis and Charlie White of the United States are not taking part. The ice dance concludes on Saturday with the free dance.

The men’s free skate is later Friday. Japanese teenager Yuzuru Hanyu will be bidding to become the first man to win the Olympic gold and the world title in the same year since Alexei Yagudin did so in 2002.

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