Posted: Thu January 24, 2013 1:16AM; Updated: Thu January 24, 2013 1:16AM

Russian pairs lead ice dance at Europeans

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Tatiana Volosozhar
Tatiana Volosozhar is held up by Maxim Trankov during their short program on Wednesday.
Ivan Sekretarev/AP

ZAGREB, Croatia (AP) Skating three days after his father died, Maxim Trankov and his Russian partner Tatiana Volosozhar took the lead in the pairs after the short program at the European championships on Wednesday.

Defending champions Volosozhar and Trankov produced a triple twist, side by side triple salchow, and a throw triple loop while performing to "The Godfather."

"Overall I am pleased. It was a good skate. We want a clean skate in the free program as well," coach Nina Mozer said. "They were very well prepared for the championships but of course after the death of Maxim's father (on Sunday) they are not quite in the right state of mind."

Aljona Savchenko and Robin Szolkowy of Germany, who own four world and European titles, were second. The Russian pair earned 73.23 points, while the Germans had 70.21.

Savchenko and Szolkowy arrived in the Croatian capital only hours earlier because their flights had been cancelled due to bad weather. They had a virtually error-free presentation, but the Russians executed the more spectacular jumps.

"Because of our late arrival we didn't have the chance to train here in the main rink," Szolkowy said. "It is a different feeling if you know the rink before. You feel more comfortable and you have a better orientation."

Stefania Berton and Ondrej Hotarek of Italy were third at 64.28.

Ekaterina Bobrova and Dmitri Soloviev of Russia led after the short dance portion of ice dance, performing a waltz and polka to music from Russian movies.

Another Russian pair, Elena Ilinykh and Nikita Katsalapov, were in second, followed by Anna Cappellini and Luca Lanotte of Italy.

Defending champions Nathalie Pechalat and Fabian Bourzat of France did not compete because of injuries.

In the short dance, competitors have 2 minutes, 50 seconds to perform required moves to a given music.

Bobrova and Soloviev lead with a score of 69.42. Ilinykh and Katsalapov have 68.98 points, while the Italian pair has 66.53.

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