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Romanians Reclaim Europe; Italians Fall to Fourth
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Romanian reclaimed its team title while defending champion Italy fell to fourth Saturday at the Women's European Championships in Clermont-Ferrand, France.

With the top team totals on vault, balance beam and floor exercise, the Romanians defeated runnerup Russia by more than two points. Host France won the bronze, its first senior team medal at a European Championships.

Sandra Izbasa (Romania)

Competing on all four events, Steliana Nistor scored a 61.050 to lead Romania back to the title it had won in 2004. Sandra Izbasa earned the team's top individual score, 15.750, on floor exercise (piked and tucked full-ins, 2 1/2 punch front full, 1 1/2-Rudi, stuck triple full).

Romania competed without world team member Cerasela Patrascu, who suffered an injured knee in Thursday's qualification. Patrascu joined her teammates on the medal stand.

Anna Pavlova led Russia with the team's top scores on vault and floor exercise but struggled on beam (14.950). On floor exercise, the 20-year-old showed a beautfiul exercise around four tumbling runs (double layout, whip triple full, front full-front aerial, double pike).

Russia took its lowest score, 14.100, from floor exercise anchor Ksenia Afanasyeva, who crashed her double pike dismount.

World uneven bars champion Ksenia Semyonova scored the evening's highest score, 16.200, on bars.

France earned the bronze, despite losing two-time Olympian Isabelle Severino to a torn Achilles Thursday. Pauline Morel crashed her double-twisting Yurchenko but matched teammate Marine Petit for a 59.175 all-around score.

World bronze medalist Cassy Vericel performed floor exercise only, earning the team's top score with a 15.175.

Italy, which upset Romania at the 2006 Europeans in Volos, Greece, finished 1.4 points out of the bronze. 2006 world champion Vanessa Ferrari watered down her floor exercise (tucked full-in mount), took a low landing on a double-twisting Yurchenko and fell off beam on her tucked full.

Italy had the third-highest team totals on vault and floor, but was fifth as a team on floor exercise on seventh on uneven bars (fall from Carlotta Giovannini on her piked Arabian double front dismount).

Ukraine finished fifth with the lowest team total on vault, where Anastasia Koval earned the night's lowest individual score of 13.400 (piked front). Defending bars champion Daria Zgoba sat down her uneven bars dismount. The team was second behind Romania on balance beam, however, with three scores above 15.000.

Great Britain finished sixth, with highlights being a double-twisting Yurchenko from Becky Downie and Beth Tweddle's 16.025 on uneven bars (toe-on blind to Khorkina to Gienger; new toe-on Tkatchev with a half twist to straddle back).

Germany and the Netherlands rounded out the top eight teams.

Competition concludes Sunday in Clermont-Ferrand with the individual apparatus finals.

Click here to download detailed results.

2008 Women's European Championships
April 5, Clermont-Ferrand, France

Team Final
1. Romania 181.525
2. Russia 179.475
3. France 177.175
4. Italy 175.775
5. Ukraine 175.475
6. Great Britain 174.050
7. Germany 170.850
8. Netherlands 166.825

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