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Cappellini, Lanotte win European championship short dance

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OSTRAVA, Czech Republic (AP) Evgenia Tarasova and Vladimir Morozov won gold in the pairs competition at the European championships on Thursday for their first continental title.

Leading after the short program by more than six points, the Russians performed to ''Music'' by John Miles in the second best free skate. Without visible flaws and with a cleanly landed throw triple salchow and throw triple loop, it was enough to win overall.

''We skated with joy and big fun,'' Morozov said. ''We skated well.''

After winning the Grand Prix Final for the first time in December, Tarasova and Morozov continued in their best season for a total of 227.58 points.

They previously took bronze at the last two European championships.

Tarasova and Morozov outclassed by more than five points last year's European silver medalists, Aliona Savchenko and Bruno Massot of Germany, who performed the best free skate despite a fall on a throw triple flip to score 222.35 overall.

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Vanessa James and Morgan Cipres of France finished third with 220.02 for their first podium after an attempt to nail a throw quad salchow, which ended with an awkward landing.

Olympic and defending champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia are skipping the season because Volosozhar is pregnant.

Earlier Thursday, Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte took a lead in the ice dance after winning the short dance.

Performing to blues and lively boogie woogie, the 2014 European and world champions from Italy earned 76.65 points. It opened a lead of less than a half point ahead of the 2013 champions Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia, who scored 76.18.

''We were really waiting for a performance like this and to be paid by a score like this,'' Cappellini said after setting their personal best score in the short program.

Defending champions Gabriella Papadakis and Guillaume Cizeron of France, seeking a third straight title, trailed by less than a point with 75.48, setting a showdown for the free dance on Saturday.