Germany’s Geisenberger opens luge season with another win
INNSBRUCK, Austria (AP) — Natalie Geisenberger’s quest for a seventh straight World Cup women’s overall championship is off to an excellent start.
The two-time defending Olympic luge champion led a German sweep of the top three spots in the World Cup opening race Saturday. She finished her two runs at the Igls-Innsbruck track in 1 minute, 19.619 seconds for her 44th World Cup victory, extending her record.
Julia Taubitz was second in 1:19.655, and Tatjana Huefner was third in 1:19.885. Russia’s Tatyana Ivanova was fourth, Italy’s Andrea Voetter got fifth and Summer Britcher was the top U.S. finisher in sixth.
Geisenberger is aiming to become the second slider to win seven straight World Cup luge overall titles. Austria’s Markus Prock won the men’s points race seven straight times from 1990-91 through 1996-97.
Austria took the doubles gold on home ice, with Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller posting the fastest time in both heats and easily getting their first World Cup win in 1:19.476.
The German team of Toni Eggert — who is racing despite a broken leg during training — and Sascha Benecken was second in 1:19.656, and the Russian duo of Vladislav Yuzhakov and Iurii Prokhorov was third in 1:19.758.
Olympic men’s silver medalist Chris Mazdzer is competing in singles and doubles this season. He made his World Cup doubles debut with Jayson Terdiman, and they finished 10th for the U.S.
The men’s race and the sprint events are Sunday in Innsbruck. The tour then continues next weekend in Whistler, British Columbia, with racing on Nov. 30 (doubles, men’s singles) and Dec. 1 (women, team relay).