Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France have defended their European ice dancing title, with the rest of the podium in Sheffield occupied by Russian contestants.
Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitry Soloviev were 0.17 points ahead of their French rivals going into the free dance, but had to settle for silver in the end.
Pechalat and Bourzat finished the night on 164.18 points, to beat the second-placed duo by a solid margin of 3.95 points.
“We knew that the French are very experienced and a strong pair,” Soloviev told Sport-Express newspaper. “After all, it’s not the first time we skate against them. For now, they are more experienced, but we will try to fight them.”
His partner, Bobrova, was also philosophical about giving the gold away.
“I guess we still haven’t reached the level, which would allow us to maintain the first position and both programs. But we’ll try again next year,” she stressed.
Another Russian pair, Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, claimed bronze, which was the country’s fifth medal at the Europeans after Tatiana Volosozhar and Maksim Trankov led a Russian sweep in the pairs on Friday.
Meanwhile, in the women’s competition, defending champion Carolina Kostner has taken the short dance.
The Italian produced a score of 63.22 in the hunt for her fourth continental title, leaving Kiira Korpi of Finland 1.42 points behind.
Russia’s Ksenia Makarova maintains good medal chances, being in third on 57.55 points. Her compatriot Alena Leonova finished the day in sixth.
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