Russia’s Semen Pavlichenko set a men’s track record at the International Luge Federation (FIL) World Cup in Lillehammer, which is doubling as the European Championship - but it was not enough to win the title.
Despite finishing his first run on the 1994 Winter Olympic venue in 48.761sec, he had to settle for second after he finished fourth in the second run and his combined total of 1min 37.911 was beaten by Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller.
It was a first European title for the 26-year-old Italian, six years after his coach Armin Zöggeler won the same title.
Fischnaller had taken bronze behind Zöggeler and Johannes Ludwig of Germany on that occasion in 2014.
The eventual winner had finished only 0.02 seconds behind Pavlichenko in the first run, well inside his own track record of 49.172 at the Lillehammer Olympic Bobsleigh and Luge Track, and produced the best effort second time around, 48.974, to take the European and World Cup gold with a combined total of 1:37.737.
"I like this track in Lillehammer," said Fischnaller.
"I’ve won here three times now.
"It feels like a home track because we train here a lot and do most of our runs here.
"It’s about time Italy won a European title again after six years!"
Italy's @DominikFisch FIL European Champion and Viessmann Luge World Cup winner in Lillehammer (NOR)— FIL Luge (@FIL_Luge) January 19, 2020
2nd Semen #Pavlichenko (RUS)
3rd Roman #Repilov (RUS)#LugeLove #Luge #Worldcup #Lillehammer #Winterfans pic.twitter.com/F8N1Wh6e8x
Fischnaller, who had started the event joint second in the overall World Cup rankings, was able to narrow the gap on Russian leader Roman Repilov, third in 1:37.965.
Austria’s Olympic champion David Gleirscher was fourth in 1:38.204.
Germany’s two-time Olympic champion and multiple world champion Felix Loch had a poor first run and ended up 15th.
Repilov still leads the overall men’s singles standings on 536 points.
Fischnaller second on 450 points and Jonas Müller of Austria third on 419.
Pavlichenko is fourth on 369 points.
Competition concluded with the team relay event, won by Austria, represented by Madeleine Egle, Gleirscher and Thomas Steu/Lorenz Koller, who clocked a total of 2:36.912.
The Silver went to Italy as Fischnaller, Andrea Voetter and Ivan Nagler/Fabian Malleiler finished 0.108 seconds behind.
The bronze medal to Latvia.