The bobsleigh World Cup shifts its focus to the Whistler Sliding Centre next weekend with Canada’s Kaillie Humphries and Russia’s Alexander Zubkov having put down markers through the first two races of the season.
On Saturday in Park City, Utah, defending Olympic women’s gold medalist Humphries of Calgary picked up her second consecutive women’s bobsleigh World Cup win, with rookie Chelsea Valois of Zenon Park, Sask., again serving as brakeman. Their time of 1 minute 39.49 seconds was 0.28 seconds faster than the Germany 1 sled of Sandra Kiriasis and Franziska Bertels and 0.32 seconds ahead of Cathleen Martini and Stephanie Schneider in Germany 2.
Also on Saturday, Zubkov won his second consecutive four-man race, again bettering favourite Steve Holcomb, the Olympic gold medalist who was racing on his home course. Holcomb won his second consecutive two-man race on Friday, in a race in which the Canada 1 sled of Lyndon Rush flipped on its second run and Rush, the Sylvan Lake, Alta., racer who was second after the first run, came in 20th. Chris Spring of Calgary and Adam Rosenke of Edmonton were the top Canadian sled in the two-man race, finishing eighth .
Zubkov said after Saturday’s race that his success is due in part to the coaching of Pierre Lueders, the long-time Canadian Olympian who was hired by the Russian federation ahead of the 2014 Sochi Games. The Russians have invested heavily in technology in a bid to dominate on their home soil, but Zubkov said Lueders’s perfectionist tendencies has helped him learn how to apply the information he is receiving.
The top Canadian four-man sled was Canada 2, driven by Calgary’s Chris Spring with Tim Randall of Burlington, Ont., Adam Rosenke of Edmoton and Ben Coakwell of Moose Jaw. They finished eighth, four places ahead of Rush’s Canada 1, which included Neville Wright of Edmonton, Cody Sorensen of Ottawa and Jesse Lumsden of Burlington.
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