Updated: Friday, 17 January 2014 05:09 | By Agence France-Presse

Italians take European ice dance gold

Italy's Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte won ice dancing gold in a dramatic finale at the European figure skating championships in Budapest on Thursday.

Italians take European ice dance gold

Gold medalists Italian ice dance pair Anna Capellini and Luca Lanotte perform their free dance programme during the ISU European Figure Skating Championships on January 16, 2014 in Budapest - by Attila Kisbenedek

The pair held their lead from the short dance to take their first major title after the free dance final by just 1.10 point ahead of Russia's Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov.

Britain's Penny Coomes and Nicholas Buckland took bronze.

Ilinykh fell towards the end of her Swan Lake dance, allowing the Italians, who had led by just 0.04 points after the short dance, to take gold after their routine to Rossini's Barber of Seville.

Bronze medallists last year, they become the second Italian ice dancers to win the European title after Barbara Fusar-Poli and Maurizio Margaglio in 2001.

They scored 171.61 points overall with the Russians, who won silver in Zagreb last year, achieving 170.51 and the British 158.69 for their Michael Jackson tribute.

Defending champions Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia skipped the event along with two-time winners Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France.

Earlier, Spaniard Javier Fernandez scored a personal best in the short programme to keep his men's title defence on track.

The 22-year-old outshone his rivals to open up a 6.05-point lead on Russian Sergei Voronov with Czech Tomas Verner in third going into Saturday's free skating final.

Russian teenagers Adelina Sotnikova and Julia Lipnitskaia are 1-2 going into Friday's women's free skating final with five-time winner Carolina Kostner of Italy in third.

In pairs, Germany's Aliona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy, four-time world champions and Olympic bronze medallists, will continue their duel with reigning world and European champions Tatiana Volosozhar and Maxim Trankov of Russia starting on Friday.

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