SAM EDNEY LEADS CANADIAN MEN AT LUGE WORLD CUP IN WHISTLEROn a technically demanding sliding track that also produced the fastest speeds of any iced chute in the world, it was no surprise Saturday night that luge royalty would lead the way.
David Moeller of Germany, a two-time world champion, won the FIL World Cup season finale with a two-run combined time of one minute, 33.919 second, edging out two-time Olympic champion Armin Zoeggeler of Italy by 2/100ths.
Zoeggeler, however, had already clinched the overall season title - his eighth - with a win in Calgary last weekend.
And it was 19-year-old German Felix Loch, who won the 2009 worlds at Lake Placid, N.Y., two weeks ago, who set the track record in finishing third. Loch's second-run time of 46.808 seconds moved him from sixth after the first run onto the podium and his speed was an astounding 153.93 kilometres an hour.
A shade slower than the 153.4 top speed recorded in the four-man bobsleigh at a World Cup on the same track two weeks earlier.
In my opinion, that's the limit, said Canadian head coach Wolfgang Staudinger. We certainly reached the limit.
This is a track like we had in Sarajevo 1984 Olympics, extremely technical, extremely fast sliding and very unforgiving.
Moeller had the fastest first-run time of 46.989 and was delighted that his consistency over the two runs allowed him to get the win a year out from the 2010 Olympics.
The last two races, the world championships, and the race in Calgary, were not so good [for me] and I tried to bring my mind together to have a good race here on the Olympic track, said Moeller. It was a very important week for all of the guys because it's the first race on this track and it's the last race before the Olympics on this track.
Sam Edney of Calgary was the top Canadian in 12th place with a time of 1:34.803. Jeff Christie of Calgary was 13th, Ian Cockerline of Calgary 21st and Brendan Hauptman of Kimberley, B.C., 29th.
The men were pushing to the limit on the course and it showed. At one point early in the second run, six consecutive sliders either crashed off their sled or just barely stayed on after getting into trouble on some of the challenging corners.
Staudinger said he was relatively satisfied with the Canadian placings.
We are on the right track and I am confident, he said. We need more runs and more volume to get the consistency we need in Games time because in Games time we have to do four runs, not two. We will do everything possible to ensure we are as consistent as possible to get a shot at it. With a little bit of God's help we should do okay.
The Canadian Luge Association is the governing body for luge racing in Canada. The Canadian Luge Association operates the Olympic Luge Training Centre at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary, which develops our nation's high-performance luge athletes and promotes the sport across the country. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.
COMPLETE RESULTS: www.fil-luge.org