January 05, 2013

Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt won their fifth consecutive luge World Cup on Saturday to maintain their perfect start to the season.

The Germans clocked the fastest times in both runs on their home track to finish with a combined time of 1 minute, 41.411 seconds for their 15th career win.

In heavy rain, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken made it a German 1-2, while Peter Penz and Georg Fischler of Austria finished third.

"I've never experienced such bad conditions on our home track," Wendl said. "It's true that you need to be a daredevil in your discipline, but as you grow older, your brain kicks in as well."

The top American finishers were Jake Hyms and Andrew Sherk (11th) and Matthew Mortensen and Preston Griffall (16th.)

Natalie Geisenberger was fastest in both runs of the women's race to lead a German sweep of the top three positions and consolidate her lead in the standings with her third season victory.

Geisenberger clocked 1:42.325 to finish ahead of Carina Schwab and Aileen Frisch. Canada's Alex Gough was fourth.

The top Americans were Julia Clukey (6th) and Erin Hamlin (10th). Clukey matched her season-best finish on opening day in Igls, Austria.

"My first run was really good, but I had some issues in the second," said Clukey, who is returning to form after injuries and surgeries. "I haven't thought about my back or neck or the surgeries. It's no longer a thought in my head. I'm strong. I'm back lifting."

Geisenberger leads with 470 points after five races, followed by Germany's Anke Wischnewski (370) and Russia's Tatiana Ivanova (280).

In the men's standings, Wendl and Arlt have 500, followed by Penz and Fischler on 370, and Eggert and Benecken on 367.

Goessner, Malyshko win biathlon World Cup sprints

OBERHOF, Germany -- Miriam Goessner of Germany overcame two missed shots to win the women's 7.5-kilometer sprint at a biathlon World Cup meet on Saturday.

Goessner nearly wasted a massive lead over Tora Berger when she missed her shots at the standing stage, but held on to beat the Norwegian by two seconds.

Goessner finished in 21 minutes, 17.2 seconds for the 22-year-old's second career World Cup win.

Germany's Andrea Henkel was third after shooting cleanly, 24.1 seconds back.

Dmitry Malyshko led a Russian 1-2 in the men's 10K sprint later Saturday, beating teammate Evgeniy Garanichev by 12.6 seconds for his first career World Cup win.

Malyshko overcame one missed penalty in difficult conditions to finish in 25:07.9. Garanichev and third-place Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway also both missed one target.

Fourth-place Alexis Boeuf was among the few skiers to shoot cleanly, as a strong wind and light rain cut across the shooting range.

Latvia's Martins Dukurs wins skeleton World Cup

ALTENBERG, Germany -- Martins Dukurs of Latvia claimed his fifth skeleton World Cup win of the season to extend his lead in the overall standings on Saturday.

Dukurs was fastest in both runs down the track to finish in 1 minute, 58.44 seconds overall.

Alexander Kroeckel was second, 0.48 seconds back, while another German, Frank Rommel, was third.

After six events, Dukurs leads the standings on 1,335 points, 157 ahead of older brother Tomass, while Russia's Alexander Tretjyakov is third.

Norway wins Nordic combined World Cup team event

SCHONACH, Germany -- Joergen Graabak anchored Norway to an easy victory at a Nordic combined World Cup 4x5K relay event on Saturday.

The Norwegian team, which also included Haavard Klemetsen, Magnus Moan and Mikko Kokslien, finished in 51 minutes, 59.8 seconds - 48.5 seconds ahead of Germany.

Americans Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, Todd Lodwick and Bill Demong rallied for third place.

Norway led after the ski jump. Austria and Japan followed, but they dropped to fourth and sixth respectively after the cross-country race.

The men's individual event is scheduled for Sunday.

WCup leader Takanashi wins women's ski jump event

SCHONACH-SCHOENWALD, Germany -- Sara Takanashi of Japan won her third women's ski jump of the season Saturday to extend her lead in the World Cup standings.

Takanashi dominated the event by landing 96.5 meters in both her jumps to earn a total of 242.1 points.

Evelyn Insam of Italy was second with 224.3 points after jumps of 91.5 and 94.5 meters, while Daniela Iraschko of Austria finished third with 219.2.

Sarah Hendrickson was the highest-placed American after jumps of 89.9 and 90.2 meters to finish in 11th. Teammates Jessica Jerome and Lindsey Van placed 13th and 15th, respectively.

After five of 16 events, Takanashi leads with 440 points, followed by Iraschko on 310 and Coline Mattel of France with 288.

Florschuetz, Friedrich share bobsled World Cup win

ALTENBERG, Germany -- Thomas Florschuetz and Francesco Friedrich tied for the victory in a German sweep of the podium at a World Cup two-man bobsled event Saturday.

Olympic silver medalist Florschuetz and brakeman Kevin Kuske were inseparable from Friedrich and Jannis Baecker after two runs. Both teams clocked 1 minute, 54.15 seconds.

It was the first ever World Cup victory for Friedrich, a junior world champion.

Manuel Machata and brakemen Christian Poser were third in 1:54.76.

Canada's Lyndon Rush and Lascelles Brown were fourth, seven-tenths of a second behind the winners.

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