Canada’s McRae finishes fifth at luge World Cup; Gough drops in standings

Eggert, Benecken set track record, win luge WCup doubles

SIGULDA, Latvia — Canadian Kim McRae put down the best result of her career in Sigulda, Latvia where she finished fifth at the Luge World Cup on Saturday.

The two-time World Cup medallist from Calgary mixed together two consistent starts and solid descents down the 13 corner track. McRae clocked in at one minutes 23.845 seconds.

“I’m definitely happy with this finish. We are in Sigulda so anything can happen for anyone here,” said McRae. “It is one of the more technical tracks we slide on. It is fun and challenging, but you need two clean runs here to be in the mix. I was able to do that today for the most part.”

The Germans grabbed the top two spots on the women’s podium. Natalie Geisenberger won for the second-straight week with a two-run time of 1:23.485. Tatjana Huefner slid to the silver medal with a time of 1:23.513. Russia’s Tatyana Ivanova was leading after the first run, but dropped into third after a costly mistake near the bottom of the track in her final trip down the 998-metre track. Ivanova posted a time of 1:23.616.

Alex Gough, also from Calgary, was dealt some unfortunate luck in her first run on Saturday. Sitting comfortably after a strong start and solid run, the three-time Olympian’s next strap broke in the second last corner, which give her whiplash and dropped her way down into the standings.

Nursing a sore neck, the 29-year-old Gough pulled it together for the second run where she finished 13th at 1:24.476.

“It was a bit of tough luck for Alex with the next strap breaking in the highest pressure corner,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach of Canada’s luge team. “We are happy for her to finish where she did because it guarantees her in a seeded spot at World Championships. She was consistent and quick in training all week, but it was just bad luck today. It happens!”

The Canadian men’s doubles team of Tristan Walker and Justin Snith, who finished in 18th place in doubles racing with a time of 1:27.054.

The Calgary-based duo, who have struggled to put two clean runs together this year, were sitting in eighth place after the first run. They were not able to take advantage of pulling the second-fastest start in the final heat. A huge mistake in the bottom portion of the track dropped them well back into the standings.

“We just can’t make silly mistakes and that is what happened with the doubles today,” said Staudinger. “The reality is if we could be more consistent we would be right in the mix, but this is reflective of our capability at this time. We are training the same way as we are racing and we must change this and become more consistent.”

Germany’s Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken set the time to beat at 1:23.113. Latvia’s Oskars Gudramovics and Peteris Kalnins slid to the silver after chalking up the second fastest runs in both heats with a time of 1:23.476. Italy’s Ludwig Rieder and Patrick Rastner won the bronze medal with a time of 1:23.808.

The Associated Press

Canadian Press