Germans dominate bobsled World Cup races on home track
Canadian men and women kept off podium
Germany's Sandra Kiriasis drove to a World Cup bobsled win on her home track on Sunday, edging Elana Meyers of the United States by the slimmest of margins.
Kiriasis and brakeman Franziska Fritz finished two runs in 1 minute, 55.41 seconds – a mere 0.01 seconds ahead of Meyers and Lolo Jones, who likely bolstered her Olympic hopes by helping give USA-1 a huge push in the second heat.
Anja Schneiderheinze and Stephanie Schneider were third for Germany, 0.07 seconds back.
The reigning Winter Olympic champions – Heather Moyse of Summerside, P.E.I., and Kaillie Humphries of Calgary – were 0.22 seconds back in fifth place.
Fellow Canadians Jenny Ciochetti of Edmonton and Chelsea Valois of Zenon Park, Sask., finished in 14th place, 1:36 behind the winning duo.
Meyers has now finished no worse than second in all five races this season, though this one wasn't easy. She and Jones had a bit of trouble at the start of the first run, then tied for the fastest start in the field to begin their second trip down the track.
"We like to keep everybody on the edge of their seats," Meyers said after extending her World Cup standings lead to 68 points over Humphries. "We had a little slip-up in the beginning of the first
run. I didn't run far enough and she followed me, so it caused us to drop some time, but we came back in the second one."
Kiriasis' victory came one day after she celebrated her 39th birthday. It was the first medal of the season for the German who's widely considered the best women's driver ever, and came in what's widely expected to be her final year in a sled.
Kiriasis was emotional crossing the finish line, raising one of her index fingers skyward, then took a long swig of a celebratory beer while standing atop the medal stand.
Later Sunday, Germany swept a four-man race, dominating once again on home ice.
Maximilian Arndt won his second gold medal in as many days, prevailing in 1:50.09 to extend his lead in the World Cup four-man standings. Francesco Friedrich drove to silver in 1:50.32 and Thomas Florschuetz took the bronze in 1:50.49.
The top Canadian finish went to Calgary's Chris Spring, Jesse Lumsden of Burlington, Ont., Ottawa's Cody Sorensen and Saskatoon's Ben Coakwell, who slid to a combined time of 1:50.83.
A time of 1:51.17 for Lyndon Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., Edmonton's Neville Wright and David Bissett, and Calgary's Lascelles Brown, was good enough for 9th.
Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C., James McNaughton of Newmarket, Ont., Toronto's Tim Randall and Edmonton's Bryan Barnett finished in 11th with a time of 1:51.22.
The World Cup bobsled tour continues next weekend at St. Moritz, the next-to-last weekend of competition before the Americans will decide which athletes will be on the team for next month's Sochi Olympics.