February 14, 2016

IGLS, Austria (AP) Francesco Friedrich edged fellow German Johannes Lochner to clinch his third straight two-man bob world title on Sunday, and Germany also won the team competition hours later.

It gave Germany a perfect three golds from as many competitions after Anja Schneiderheinze and brakewoman Annika Drazek won the women's bob event Saturday.

Watched by Monaco's Prince Albert II, a five-time bobsled Olympian, Friedrich and brakeman Thorsten Margis shared the lead with Lochner and Joshua Bluhm after three heats.

Friedrich won the final run for a four-heat aggregate time of 3 minutes, 26.09 seconds to earn the victory by 0.17. Friedrich and Lochner also came 1-2 at the worlds last year.

''This was the most exhausting race of our careers,'' said Friedrich, who recovered from straining a thigh muscle three weeks ago. ''Many thanks to my physicians. We wouldn't have been here without them.''

Beat Hefti and Alex Baumann of Switzerland, who won the European title last week, finished third, 0.22 off the lead. Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon of Britain came 0.42 back in fourth.

Junior world champion Lochner held a 0.15-second lead over the defending champion after Saturday's first two heats.

In a remarkable start to the third heat, Lochner opened with a track record of 51.47 seconds, only for Friedrich to scrape another 0.15 off that best mark a minute later.

Lochner lost time in the decisive heat as his bob slid sideways toward the end of his final run, enabling Friedrich to claim victory despite a slower start.

''We are happy, but also sad because we made that mistake,'' said Lochner, who has been competing on the Europe Cup circuit this season.

Oskars Melbardis and Daumants Dreiskens, who won silver last year, led the competition after Saturday's first heat but the Latvians dropped to fifth, trailing by a half-second.

Overall World cup leader Won Yun-jong and Seo Young-woo of South Korea posted only the 15th time in the final heat and finished more than a second off the pace in seventh.

Later Sunday, Lochner and brakeman Tino Paasche helped Germany win the team competition for the sixth time by posting the fastest time in the concluding two-man bob heat, after his team already led following the men's skeleton, women's bobsled and women's skeleton runs.

The German team, which included Axel Jungk, Anja Schneiderheinze and brakewomen Franziska Bertels, and Tina Hermann, finished in 3 minutes, 31.47 seconds to beat Russia by 0.65. Hosts Austria came 1.46 back in third for their first ever team medal.

The world championships continue with the first two heats of the men's skeleton competition on Thursday.

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