Plushenko wins fifth title as Europeans end

&to=' target=_blank>Evgeni Plushenko won a fifth men's title Saturday to seal another Russian sweep of the gold medals at the European championships.

It was the third time in the last four years that the Russians had won all the titles on offer. They also did it three times in a row between 1997-99 and are now looking to repeat the feat at next month's Olympics.

Last year, Plushenko was the only Russian not to repeat at the world championships when he was forced to drop out with a groin injury.

Now he has taken revenge against Stephane Lambiel, who took the world title in his absence.

Lambiel was second Saturday and France' Brian Joubert, who upset Plushenko at the 2004 Europeans, was third.

Plushenko opened with a quadruple jump and added seven more triples in his routine to "The Godfather."

He tired near the end of his routine, showing the effects of a bout of flu, but scored 245.33 points. Lambiel had 228.87 and Joubert finished with 222.95.

"It was very difficult to skate the program because the flu is not finished," Plushenko said. "After the fourth minute I had problems to breathe."

Lambiel paid tribute to the winner.

"Plushenko was the best today. Against him I can't make any errors," the Swiss said.

Lambiel, in a routine to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons" had to step out of a triple jump and put a hand down on a second quad. He also stumbled twice in his footwork down the ice.

Joubert missed his triple axel twice. He landed a quad but slipped right after it.

"I did a stupid mistake on the quad," Joubert said.

The competition ended with Russians getting six of the 12 medals.

Irina Slutskaya won the women's title for a seventh time to better the record of six she shared with Sonja Henie and Katarina Witt. Elena Sokolova came second.

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