Three-time Olympic champion Felix Loch clinched his 50th victory at the Luge World Cup in Whistler, Canada. There was also reason to celebrate in the doubles.
The 33-year-old, who fell a week earlier at the opening race in Innsbruck, appeared well recovered from the mishap on Friday (local time, December 9th, 2022) and brought his former coach Georg Hackl the first defeat.
Loch was already at the front of the field after the first run. The man from Berchtesgaden set a new track record of 49.798 seconds.
Double victory in doubles
On Saturday, the German doubles followed up. Led by Toni Eggert/Sascha Benecken, the German team landed a double victory. Second place went to Tobias Wendl/Tobias Arlt ahead of the Austrians Juri Gatt/Riccardo Schöpf. After the first round it even looked like a German triple success, but third-placed Hannes Orlamünder/Paul Gubitz (Schwarza/Zella-Mehlis) fell back to fifth place in the second round.
In the women’s category, the luge doubles Jessica Degenhardt/Cheyenne Rosenthal missed the first win of the young World Cup season despite a good starting position. The Germans, who were leading at halftime, slipped down to third place after the second run. Victory went to Andrea Vötter/Marion Oberhofer (Italy) ahead of Selina Egle/Lara Michaela Kipp (Austria).
Loch keeps his nerve
The day before, Loch had maintained his lead in heat two despite being a thousandth of a second slower than Austria’s Wolfgang Kindl. The Italian Dominik Fischnaller came in third. Nico Gleirscher, who also started for Team Austria and had triumphed before Kindl on the first World Cup weekend, only came in seventh this time. With the victory, Loch reported back impressively in the fight with the Austrians, who had been trained by his former mentor Hackl since this winter.
After the start in Innsbruck-Igls, when three Austrians were on the podium, the first duel on a “neutral” track took place in Whistler. And promptly the man from Königssee reported back: “It was time that the five were finally up front,” said Loch, referring to his anniversary, “and it’s nice to be at the top again. After the past week, that’s particularly good.”
High-class race with small distances
Loch took on the international competition alone, the second best German was David Nössler (Schmalkalden) in 13th place. Mathis Ertel from Altenberg and Chemnitz-based Timon Crancagnolo finished the races in 13th, 15th and 17th place.
It was a close, high-class race at the front: Austrian ex-world champion Wolfgang Kindl finished second, 34 thousandths behind, Dominik Fischnaller from Italy third, 70 thousandths behind.
But Loch felt a bit of satisfaction after the long-awaited victory against the competition from Austria: “I don’t want to say everything has been adjusted”said hole “but we don’t have to worry that the Austrians will drive us in the face and we won’t see any country anymore.”