Figure skating - Virtue and Moir cap comeback with third world title

Figure Skating - ISU World Championships 2017 - Ice Dance Victory Ceremony - Helsinki, Finland - 1/4/17 - Gold medallists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir of Canada attend the ceremony. REUTERS/Grigory Dukor

HELSINKI (Reuters) - It was far from the perfect performance they are known for but a slip by Scott Moir could not prevent him and Tessa Virtue from winning a third ice dance title at the world figure skating championships on Saturday.

The 2010 Olympic champions, who had taken a two-year hiatus after settling for silver at the 2014 Sochi Games, had been expected to cap their comeback season with a flourish having earned world record scores in their short dance just 24 hours earlier.

Instead they had to rely on the 5.54 point lead they had taken into the free dance to hold off twice-world champions and French training partners Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron after Moir inexplicably lurched forward having tripped up on their circular step sequence.

The Canadians won the title with a total of 198.62 despite being beaten in the free dance by almost three points by Papadakis and Cizeron.

Maia Shibutani and Alex Shibutani unexpectedly ended up with bronze after American team mates Madison Hubbell and Zachary Donahue, who had been lying third, surrendered their medal hopes following a fall by Donahue.

(Reporting by Pritha Sarkar, editing by Toby Davis)