Germans take World Cup men’s, doubles luge titles
ALTENBERG, Germany — Felix Loch clinched his third straight World Cup season points championship Saturday, part of what’s shaping up as yet another weekend of German luge dominance.
Germans are typically the dominant sliders in luge, and this year is no exception. Earlier Saturday, the German team of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt clinched their third doubles season title in the past four seasons. And on Sunday, Natalie Geisenberger will be heavily favored to wrap up another women’s season crown.
Christian Niccum and Berwick’s Jayson Terdiman were 11th in doubles for the U.S., five spots ahead of fellow Americans Matthew Mortensen and Preston Griffall.
Niccum of Woodinville, Wash., and Terdiman started each run quickly, but gave ground and finished 11th in 1:24.550.
Mortensen of Huntington Station, N.Y. and Griffall of Salt Lake City, both sergeants in the U.S. Army’s World Class Athlete Program and National Guard, placed 16th in 1:24.838.
Loch wrapped up the singles title with one race remaining, getting his fifth win in eight races overall by rallying past Russia’s Albert Demchenko and finishing two runs in 1 minute, 48.921 seconds.
Demchenko was 0.302 seconds back, and Germany’s Andi Langerhan was third, another 0.256 seconds off the pace. Chris Mazdzer, the lone American in the field, placed ninth.
Loch, Geisenberger and the Wendl-Arlt pairing all will be favored for Olympic gold at the Sochi Games next month.
For Wendl and Arlt, their win Saturday was their sixth in eight tries this season. Wendl and Arlt finished two runs in 1 minute, 23.789 seconds, finishing 0.219 seconds better than Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken of Germany. The Austrian team of Peter Penz and Georg Fischler was third, 0.332 seconds back of the winners.
Wendl and Arlt have a World Cup winning 770 overall points, followed by Eggert and Benecken with 630 and Penz with Fischler at 484.
The World Cup season wraps up next week in Sigulda, Latvia.