Bobsleigh World Championships in Winterberg: Friedrich or Lochner – or Ammour?

As of: February 21, 2024 5:55 p.m

The duel between Francesco Friedrich and Johannes Lochner is already making the headlines before the Bobsleigh World Championships in Winterberg. At the end of the day, another German could also cause a surprise.

It is in the nature of things that the German bobsleigh pilots will be the big favorites at the upcoming World Championships in Winterberg (March 1st to 3rd). The black, red and gold dominance in the ice track has been too great in recent years.

At the last title fights in St. Moritz alone, all the gold medals went to Germany. While record world champion Francesco Friedrich took his fifth victory in the four-man bobsleigh, Johannes Lochner triumphed in the small sled. Even in this World Cup winter, the two exceptional pilots hardly give each other anything, which is why the role of favorites in Winterberg seems to be clearly distributed.

How fit is Lochner after his fall?

And yet some question marks remain. On the one hand, there is the physical condition of Lochner, who is going into the competition handicapped after his serious fall in training and the subsequent cancellation of the World Cup weekend in Altenberg. After the accident he was on “a good way“, but the fall is still in his bones. How well he can mentally cope with the moments of shock is also questionable. The fall “felt like a car accident,” said the five-time world champion.

European champion Ammour is lurking

On the other hand, Lochner and Friedrich face competition from their own team. With Adam Ammour, an up-and-coming talent has set out to break through the phalanx of the two German figureheads in bobsleigh sport. The 22-year-old already provided a foretaste at the European Championships in Sigulda, when he and his brother Issam raced to gold in the two-man bobsleigh – including a track record. A little later he followed up at the World Cup in Altenberg.

“It won’t just be a duel between Francesco and me at the races“, Lochner also knows. Ammour has “Not so bad in the last few weeks“That’s why a purely German podium is more than possible.

Ammour himself is (still) holding back on declarations of war. Although the season is “been super good so far“, but “the competition is strong“said the former gymnast.”They will do everything to ensure that I don’t beat them anymore.“National coach René Spies was also happy about the possible three-way fight. Lochner and Friedrich will definitely be “Accelerate so that Adam doesn’t end up at the top again.

Great competition in the four-man bobsleigh

The failure of the Swiss Michael Vogt, who also had a serious fall in Altenberg, means that the German trio will no longer be a co-favorite in the two-man bobsleigh. In the four-man bobsleigh, where Friedrich is still the measure of all things, things look different.

On the one hand, there is the Brit Brad Hall, who beat Friedrich in the big sled in the World Cup last winter and came second at the World Cup. The Latvian Emils Cipulis also recently made an exclamation mark in Altenberg and drove to victory at the same time as Friedrich. The Swiss Vogt could also compete in the foursome on the second weekend and, according to national coach Spies, “very dangerous” become.

Nolte with gold pusher Levi at the start?

The bobsleigh and sled association also sent three candidates for gold in the ice track for women. The eyes will primarily be on Olympic champion Laura Nolte, who is at home in Winterberg. Last year she was able to win the competition in the monobob, and she can also win gold in the two-man bob.

Especially after she rode together again with her Olympic pusher Deborah Levi in ​​Altenberg and promptly took victory. Nolte left it open whether Levi, who is coming back from a two-year injury break, will also take part in the World Cup. But Kalicki and Buckwitz don’t have to hide either. Together with Nolte, the German trio has won all of the two-man bobsleigh World Cup races so far this winter.

Buckwitz: “Everything has to be right on day X.”

The decision in the monobob should be much closer. Buckwitz has been the dominant athlete there so far, but Nolte, Kaysha Love (USA) and Breeana Walker (New Zealand) should also have a say in the title. “It can happen very quickly that we don’t win a medal“, said Spies. And Buckwitz also piled deep: “I’m aiming for a medal, but I don’t know what it will be in the end. Everything has to be right on day X.

Schedule in Winterberg

Saturday, February 24th

9:00/10:30 a.m.: Monobob women

1st/2nd Run

1:00 p.m./2:45 p.m.: Two-man bobsleigh men

1st/2nd Run

Sunday, February 25th

9:15/10:45 a.m.: Monobob women

3rd/4th Run

1:15 p.m./3:00 p.m.: Two-man bobsleigh men

3rd/4th Run

Friday March 1st

3:00 p.m./4:30 p.m.: Two-man bobsleigh women

1st/2nd Run

Saturday March 2nd

10:00 a.m./12:00 p.m.: Four-man bobsleigh men

1st/2nd Run

2:30 p.m./4:00 p.m.: Two-man bobsleigh women

3rd/4th Run

Sunday March 3rd

2:00 p.m./4:00 p.m.: Four-man bobsleigh men

3rd/4th Run

The German squad in Winterberg on the first weekend

Men (two-man bobsleigh):

  • Johannes Lochner (BC Stuttgart Solitude) and Georg Fleischhauer (SC Potsdam)
  • Francesco Friedrich (BSC Sachsen Oberbärenburg) and Alexander Schüller (SV Halle)
  • Adam Ammour (BRC Thuringia) and Issam Ammour (Eintracht Frankfurt)

Women (monobob):

  • Laura Nolte (BSC Winterberg)
  • Lisa Buckwitz (BRC Thuringia)
  • Kim Kalicki (TuS Eintracht Wiesbaden)