Lueders and Bissett Strike Gold for Canada at Bobsleigh World Cup in St. Moritz
January 15, 2009
ST. MORITZ, Sui.—Canada’s Pierre Lueders finally cracked the podium goose egg winning his first World Cup two-man bobsleigh race of the season at the birthplace of the sport in St. Moritz, Switzerland on Thursday.
The 38-year-old, along with fellow Edmonton native, David Bissett, capitalized on a late start position in both heats to put down the two fastest runs of the day for a combined winning time of two minutes 14.34 on the historic St. Moritz track. The 19th start position proved to be an advantage as rising temperatures generally makes the natural St. Moritz ice faster as the day progresses. Lueders set a track record of 1:06.79 while piloting the final sled of the second run.
“It definitely is a bit sweeter than some of my other wins because of the weird start we have had to the season,” said Lueders after winning the World Cup make-up race in St. Moritz, which was originally scheduled for Cesana, Italy in December where it was cancelled due to snow. “I know there was a lot of people counting me out – saying I was old and should retire – but there is a lot of fight in me left and I knew we could still be fast.”
All great athletes experience set-backs of some fashion, but the 2008 season has been the first of its kind for the legendary Canadian pilot. Lueders got banged up during an early-season crash in Altenberg, Germany, which forced him to miss a week of racing. Battling an injury for most of the year, last week his two-man sled was disqualified after the first heat where he posted the fastest run in Königssee, Germany because his sled was one kilogram overweight.
“I was very disappointed last week, but at the same token, I knew the push and the drive were very good,” said Lueders, who was forced to miss a race because of an injury and then had the disqualification for the first time of his career. “All of these things have never happened before. We have been so used to not having problems because we’ve never gone through it, but I know we will be better for it in the end.”
One of the most successful athletes in the history of Canadian Olympic sport, the victory marks the 86th World Cup medal of Lueders’ illustrious career. The 19-year-veteran has also claimed eight World Championship titles, and two Olympic medals.
“I am really happy to get this one for the guys that are behind me expecting each week that I am going to drive well,” said Lueders who will make his 200th World Cup start on Saturday.
Two Swiss teams flanked Lueders and Bissett on the men’s podium. Ivo Rueegg and Roman Handschin finished second at 2:14.64, while Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter took the bronze medal at 2:15.08.
Lyndon Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., and Calgary’s Lascelles Brown teamed up in the only other Canadian sled and finished 16th (2:16.05).
Meanwhile, Canada’s Kaillie Humphries, posted her second consecutive fifth-place finish in the women’s race. The 23-year-old, who finished fifth overall in her rookie season as a pilot on the World Cup last year, is showing no signs of a sophomore jinx. The Calgary native teamed up with Heather Moyse, of Summerside, P.E.I. to clock a two-run time of 2:18.10.
“It was a pretty good race for me, but I made some errors in my first run. The starts were good and we are happy,” said Humphries. “The second year of racing is difficult for everyone. It has been a long season, but we are working hard and things are coming along. I really want to be ready so that we are on top at the World Championships.”
Mounting the top of the women’s podium in St. Moritz was Germany’s Sandra Kiriasis and brakeman, Berit Wiacker, who clocked a winning time of 2:17.34. Cathleen Martini and Janine Tischer, also of Germany, settled for the silver at 2:17.36, while Great Britain’s Nicola Minichiello celebrated a bronze medal with Jackie Gunn at 2:17.70.
Two other Canadian sleds hit the start line in women’s racing. Helen Upperton, of Calgary, who has been fighting a rib injury, teamed up with Shelley-Ann Brown, Pickering, Ont., to finish 10th (2:19.46), while Lisa Szabon, of Nanton, Alta., piloted the Canada 3 to a 13th-place result (2:20.43) with Sabrina Notorangelo, of Windsor, Ont.
The Bobsleigh and Skeleton World Cup continues on Friday in St. Moritz with women’s races on Friday, while the men will hit the track again on Saturday.
For more information on Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton, please visit us at www.bobsleigh.ca on the Internet.
Top-Five Men’s Two-Man Bobsleigh Results:
1. Pierre Lueders, Edmonton,/David Bissett, Edmonton, CAN, 2:14.34; 2. Ivo Rueegg/Roman Handschin, SUI 2, 2:14.64; 3. Beat Hefti/Thomas Lamparter, SUI 1, 2:15.08; 4. Janis Minins/Daumants Dneiskens, LAT 2, 2:15.11; 5. Simone Bertazzo/Samuele Romanini, ITA 1, 2:15.18
Canadian Men’s Results:
16. Lyndon Rush, Humboldt, Sask./Lascelles Brown, Calgary, 2:16.05
Top-Five Women’s Bobsleigh Results: complete results www.fibt.com
1. Sandra Kiriasis/Berit Wiacker, GER 1, 2:17.34; 2. Cathleen Martini/Janine Tischer, GER 2, 2:17.36; 3. Nicola Minichielle/Jackie Gunn, GBR 1, 2:17.70; 4. Claudia Schramm/Anja Winter, GER 3, 2:17.82; 5. Kaillie Humphries, Calgary/Heather Moyse, Summerside, P.E.I., CAN, 2:18.10.
Other Canadian Women’s Results:
10. Helen Upperton, Calgary/Shelley-Ann Brown, Pickering, Ont., 2:19.46; 13. Lisa Szabon, Nanton, Alta./Sabrina Notorangelo, Windsor, Ont., 2:20.43