Huefner snaps Geisenberger’s luge winning streak
OBERHOF, Germany (AP) — Tatjana Huefner of Germany ended teammate Natalie Geisenberger’s season-long winning streak Saturday, hanging on to win a World Cup race and moving into second in the points standings.
Huefner’s two-run time was 1 minute, 23.925 seconds, 0.016 seconds ahead of Geisenberger. Germans also finished third and fourth, with Dajana Eitberger and Anke Wischnewski in those spots.
Still, it’s just about inevitable that Geisenberger — a winner in the season’s first six races — will claim her second straight points championship. Her lead in the standings over Huefner is 194 points, with a maximum of 200 left to be earned in the season’s last two World Cup events before the Sochi Olympics.
Canada’s Alex Gough, who had a tiny mathematical chance of catching Geisenberger entering the weekend, was fifth. Only Geisenberger and Huefner remain in the running for the season crown.
This will be the 16th straight season that a German woman has captured the points title, and the 26th time in 36 years overall.
Erin Hamlin was the top American woman, placing 10th. Kate Hansen finished 12th and Summer Britcher was 16th for the U.S. The men’s singles race in Oberhof is scheduled for Sunday.
“I was just a little too sloppy on the first run,” Hamlin said. “Nothing was as smooth as I would have liked. My start curve was a bit subpar and that causes a lot of time loss. Thankfully I managed to keep it together for the second. I have to be happy with a top 10 considering my mistakes.”
In doubles racing earlier Saturday, the German duo of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken posted the fastest time in both heats, winning in 1:23.212. They were 0.379 seconds better than fellow Germans Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt.
Wendl and Arlt could still wrap up the overall season points title next weekend in Altenberg, the next-to-last stop on tour before Sochi.
Russia’s Vladislav Yuzhakov and Vladimir Makhnutin were third, another 0.018 seconds back.
For the U.S., Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman finished a season-best ninth, and Matthew Mortensen and Preston Griffall placed 11th.