Shoma Uno led the way as 24 athletes qualified for the free skate at the ISU World Figure Skating Championships.
“It is really difficult to put all the power I have in my training into the competition,” Uno said afterwards, "so I’m glad it worked out."
"In the past three years I have changed so much," he said.
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"Three years ago I was skating toward the end of my career, but now I am skating for the future. I am amid the journey of my growth, so I want to show that."
Uno of Japan finished ahead of Yuma Kagiyama, who performed superbly to finish in second with 105.69.
The 18-year-old two-time Olympic medallist may have trailed his compatriot but he could be proud of his technical score of 58.62.
And in third was 23-year-old Kazuki Tomono, who wrapped up a great day for Japan on the ice in Montpellier.
The three-time Grand Prix medallist recorded a score of 101.12 to narrowly edge out the USA's Ilia Malinin in fourth.
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