Luge Canada

Day 3- 16th FIL World Championships, Feb 15th to Feb 19th, 2007 in Grande Prairie, Alberta (CAN)

Russian doubles take Gold and Silver Austrians take bronze after crashWe have trained for this all year, we have worked hard and it means a lot to us that we could defend our title here, said a happily smiling Ivan Lazarev (RUS) after the race. It was a bit difficult to concentrate today after that stupid story with the disqualification yesterday, but the again, we went from race to race all season, so we found back into our routine easily. With the fastest times in both runs Pawel Porschnev/Ivan Lazarev made it clear that they are the old and the new champions. Whereas in the training runs they were still struggling with the perfect adjustments, they felt very much at home in today´s race: The ice is different in Europe, but back home in Russia and today here in Canada it was very much alike. Aleksandr Egorov/Petr Popov completed the Russian success and took the silver medal. We all train together, so we are also friends and it is even a bigger joy when all four of us are on the podium, they said after the race.

The heroes of the day were without a doubt Gerhard Mühlbacher and Christian Schatz. They finished their first run with a crash and had no control over their sled when they passed the finish line: It all happened in a split second, I don´t know whether it was lack of concentration or whatever, but we crashed into the sideboards, once left, then right and somehow we reached the finish, said Mühlbacher, who was carried away by the paramedics to be taken to hospital. I just wanted to make sure that I had no back injuries, but when the pain became less I did not want to go to the hospital. So they stayed at the venue and with the help of their team mates repaired their damaged sled. Only 45 minutes before the second run they decided to give it a try. The fourth best time in the second run was enough to put them on the podium. At the flower ceremony they were limping and their bodies aching when they had to step on the podium. These last three weeks have been just perfect, we won the World Cup, the gold medal yesterday and now bronze. So we have to be thankful that today we got away without any serious injuries, said Christian Schatz.

One decision in the doubleseaters event fell even before all sliders went down the track: Not less than four doubleseaters needed to be disqualified because of too warm runners. Amongst them were Italy´s Patrick Pigneter/Florian Clara and the Austrians Reinhard Beer/Herbert Kögl, the silver and bronze medallists in yesterday´s team competition.

After two runs two Russians are in the lead in the women´s event, Ekatharina Lavrentjeva with a 1,88 seconds margin ahead of her team mate Julia Vetlova. Renate Gietl (ITA), Melanie Batkowski and Marlies Wagner (both AUT), ranked third to fifth will conduct their own race for the one spot on the podium behind the Russians.

In the men´s single event so far only one run has been held, but it already showed that the Austrians Gernot Schwab, who has won both Grande Prairie World Cups last year and former five-times World Champion Gerhard Pilz, who will retire after these Championships will be the ones to beat. Pilz took the lead at 1:17,02 ahead of Schwab at 1:17,10. The best Canadian, Kaj Johnson, is ranked 6th after the first run.

The competition will be continued tomorrow, Monday, with the women´s last run and the men´s two final runs.

Final Results Doubleseaters:

1. Pawel PORSCHNEV/Ivan LAZAREV (RUS), 1:22,44(1), 1:23,14(1), 2:45,58
2. Aleksandr EGEROV/Petr POPOV (RUS), 1:23,27(3), 1:23,73(2), 2:47,00
3. Christian SCHATZ/Gerhard MÜHLBACHER (AUT), 1:23,16(2), 1:24,23(4), 2:47,39
4. Andrzej LASZCZAK/Damian WANICZEK (POL), 1:24,41(4), 1:23,96(3),2:48,37
5. Martin PSENNER/Johannes HOFER (ITA), 1:24,97(5), 1:25,27(7), 2:50,24
5. Christian SCHOPF/Andreas SCHOPF (AUT), 1:25,02(6), 1:25,22(6), 2:50,24
7. Bjoern KIERSPEL/Christian WICHAN (GER), 1:25,38(7), 1:25,09(5), 2:50,47

Intermediate Results Women after two runs of three:

1. Ekatharina LAVRENTJEVA (RUS), 1:18,16(1), 1:17,80(1),
2. Julia VETLOVA (RUS), 1:18,75(2), 1:19,09(3),
3. Renate GIETL (ITA), 1:19,23(3), 1:18,96(2),
4. Melanie BATKOWSKI (AUT), 1:19,44(4), 1:19,44(5),
5. Marlies WAGNER (AUT), 1:19,71(5), 1:19,24(4),
6. Kinga GAWLAS (POL), 1:20,11(9), 1:19,58(6),
7.Tina UNTERBERGER (AUT), 1:19,91(6), 1:20,01(8),
8. Michaela MAURER (GER), 1:20,00(7), 1:20,11(9),
9. Renate KASSLATTER (ITA), 1:20,54(10), 1:19,66(7),
10. Barbara ABART (ITA), 1:20,06(8), 1:20,63(10),
11. Melissa JONES (CAN), 1:25,35(11), 1:26,25(11),

FIL Media Service