November 24, 2012

IGLS, Austria (AP) -- Anke Wischnewski led a German 1-2 finish ahead of Natalie Geisenberger in the women's season-opening luge World Cup race on Saturday.

It was Wischnewski's second career victory, eight years after winning a race in Altenberg.

Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt earned Germany another 1-2 finish, beating Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken in the men's doubles race.

Wischnewski, who set a track record of 39.875 seconds in her first run, finished in an aggregate time of 1 minute, 19.836 seconds to beat Geisenberger by 0.074.

Alex Gough of Canada came in third, 0.152 back, while Olympic and defending World Cup champion Tatjana Huefner of Germany took fourth, 0.186 behind Wischnewski. Julia Clukey of the United States was sixth in 1:20.410.

Wendl and Arlt timed 1:19.464 over two heats to edge Eggert and Benecken by 0.033 for their 14th World Cup win. Eggert and Benecken posted the fastest second run in a track-record time of 39.706 seconds.

Austria's Peter Penz and Georg Fischler were 0.105 behind in third, ahead of defending World Cup champions Andreas Linger and Wolfgang Linger, who trailed the winners by 0.204.

American duo Matt Mortensen and Preston Griffall were 10th in 1:20.075.

The World Cup meet concludes with a men's race and team relay on Sunday.

LILLEHAMMER, Norway (AP) -- Magnus Moan of Norway won the season-opening Nordic Combined World Cup event on Saturday, securing his 19th individual victory and the first in almost two years.

The 29-year old Norwegian was eighth after the ski jumping portion of the competition in which countryman Haavard Klemetsen took a convincing lead. But Moan showed good form in the 10-kilometer cross-country race on the Sjusjoeen track, holding off defending overall champion Jason Lamy Chappuis of France by one second in the final sprint. Moan finished in 24 minutes, 46.2 seconds for his first victory since January, 2011.

Austria's Bernhard Gruber came third, in 24 minutes and 49.5 seconds, while Klemetsen, who jumped 102 meters on the Lysgaardsbakken slope, settled for fourth place.

This was the first time Lillehammer hosted the season-opening event of the Nordic Combined World Cup.

WHISTLER, British Columbia (AP) -- Russia's Alexander Zubkov raced to his third straight World Cup four-man bobsled victory Saturday, beating teammate Alexander Kasjanov by 0.24 seconds.

Zubkov's team had a two-run time of 1 minute, 43.29 seconds.

Canada's Chris Spring was third, and American Steven Holcomb fourth a day after winning the two-man event.

Holcomb, from Park City, Utah, teamed with Justin Olsen of San Antonio; Steve Langton of Melrose, Mass.; and Curt Tomasevicz of Shelby, Neb.

"I'm disappointed to finish fourth, but at the same time it's still the top four in the world, which isn't bad," Holcomb said. "There are 25 other sleds that would be really happy to be where I'm at right now. I'm bummed we didn't get a medal because this is my track. But that's racing; it's the way it goes. You can't win them all, but I did win here when it counted at the Olympics two years ago."

USA-1 finished in 1:43.89.

"I made too many mistakes," Holcomb said. "I need to make sure I stay focused and come back to improve on the second run like we did yesterday. It's still a learning experience."

Nick Cunningham of Monterey, Calif., was 11th, and Cory Butner of Yucaipa, Calif., was disqualified after his sled flipped in the second run.

KOLOMNA, Russia (AP) -- Marrit Leenstra of the Netherlands earned her second career speedskating World Cup victory Saturday by winning the women's 1,500-meter race.

Leenstra clocked 1 minute, 55.04 seconds at the Kolomna speedskating center near Moscow, edging Yekaterina Shikhova of Russia by 0.49 seconds.

Defending overall World Cup champion Christine Nesbitt of Canada clocked 1:56:16 for third.

Leenstra, who was second behind Nesbitt in the season-opening 1,500 race at Heerenveen, Netherlands, last weekend, leads the discipline standings with 180 points. Nesbitt is 10 points behind in second, while Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic is third with 110.

A women's mass start was scheduled to follow the men's 5,000 race later Saturday.

GALLIVARE, Sweden (AP) -- Marit Bjoergen earned her 56th individual victory in the women's 10-kilometer freestyle event and Martin Johnsrud Sundby won the men's 15K race as Norway dominated the opening cross-country World Cup meet of the season on Saturday.

Bjoergen led the interval-start race from the first intermediate time and crossed the finish line in 22 minutes, 31.8 seconds for what the 32-year-old triple Olympic champion called "a perfect beginning" to the season.

"I felt like going fast on the skis today and was curious to see whether my body would be with me," Bjoergen said.

Bjoergen's teammate Therese Johaug came second, 12.6 seconds behind, and Kikkan Randall of the United States was third, 25.9 seconds back.

In the men's race, Johnsrud Sundby stunned the field by earning his first World Cup victory in a freestyle event - and just second individual win overall - by finishing in 30 minutes, 37.0 seconds.

"It's a good feeling I have inside of me right now," the 28-year-old classical-style specialist said. "There's a lot of hard work that has started to pay off."

Alexey Poltoranin of Kazakhstan was 8.9 seconds behind in second place, while Sweden's Marcus Hellner was third.

This was the fifth time Gallivare, located some 62 miles north of the Arctic Circle, hosted the season-opening event of the cross-country World Cup.

LILLEHAMMER, Norway (AP) -- Severin Freund of Germany won the season-opening ski jump World Cup event on Saturday for the third individual victory of his career.

The 24-year-old didn't have the longest jump but impressed the judges with his style, giving him a total score of 268.5 points after leaping 99 meters in the first round on the normal hill and 100.5 in the second.

Austria's Thomas Morgenstern jumped 102 meters in the second but settled for second place with 267.2 points, while defending overall champion Anders Bardal of Norway was third with 267.

In the women's event, Sara Takanashi of Japan scored 265.2 points to win ahead of American defending overall champion Sarah Hendrickson, who had 261.4. Anette Sagen of Norway was third with 258.9.

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