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Taubitz wins, Britcher 2nd for US at snowy luge World Cup

January 5, 2019
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Julia Taubitz of Germany starts during the women's luge world cup in Schoenau at Koenigssee on Daturday, Jan.5, 2019. (Tobias Hase/dpa via AP)

KOENIGSSEE, Germany (AP) — Julia Taubitz of Germany won a World Cup luge race Saturday, prevailing on a track where snow piling up befuddled many sliders.

American Summer Britcher was second and Austrian Hannah Prock finished third for her first World Cup medal. German star Natalie Geisenberger was one of many who struggled in the snow and finished eighth on her home track, ending a streak of 25 consecutive World Cup races with a medal for the Olympic champion.

Race officials swept the track after every three sliders, and those on the track immediately following the sweep reaped the benefits. Those who had to plow through the snow lost considerable speed and had slimmer chances of a medal.

“There’s only so much you can do to steer around snow,” Britcher said. “I just let the sled go middle. It was simple and didn’t complicate things for me.”

Russian Ekaterina Katnikova, who was leading after the first heat and took advantage of clean ice, was 22nd on a snow-covered track in the second heat and finished 17th overall. Geisenberger managed to keep her World Cup overall lead, her advantage over Taubitz trimmed to 17 points.

Britcher remained third in the overall standings after earning her second silver medal of the season.

Conditions were a bit different in the earlier doubles race Saturday, and the results were more predictable.

Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken prevailed for Germany, with countrymen Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt second. Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller took third for Austria. The U.S. sled of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman was ninth.

It was the sixth medal of the season for the Eggert-Benecken sled and the fourth gold.

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