Russian tops defending champ Joubert

TURIN, Italy -- Evgeni Plushenko of Russia captured the
men's title for the fourth time Thursday at the European Figure
Skating Championships with a solid but unspectacular program,
rallying from a poor short program to defeat defending champion
Brian Joubert of France.

Skating to a recent version of "The Godfather" theme song,
Plushenko had a quad plus six triples and ended with a total of
227.14 points. The Russian made four minor errors, but his style
made up for it, especially some dazzling footwork.

Joubert had a quad and seven triples. But a final attempt at
another triple was a major mistake, and he ended with 224.43. He
led Plushenko by less than two points entering the free skating
under the new scoring system used at the European championships for
the first time.

Plushenko was subdued when he saw the scores indicating he had defeated Joubert.

"I said to myself, 'I should fight with myself today,'"
Plushenko said. "I didn't want to compete with Brian Joubert or
anyone else. I competed against myself."

In the short program a day earlier, the Russian bungled a jump
combination and had a flat performance, seeming uncomfortable
throughout the competition

Third went to Stefan Lindemann of Germany, duplicating the
result at the world championships last March.

"I don't have anything to regret," Joubert said. "I fought
from beginning to end."