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Olympic luge champ Loch dominates World Cup opener

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IGLS, Austria (AP) Germany started the luge World Cup season by winning all six races of the opening weekend, nine months after its clean sweep of the gold medals at the Sochi Olympics.

Two-time Olympic champion Felix Loch dominated the men's race on Sunday morning, and won one of the three inaugural sprints in the afternoon.

The other winners were Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken in the doubles and Natalie Geisenberger in the women's sprint. They also won the regular races in their disciplines on Saturday.

The sprint is a new, one-run format for the top-15 ranked athletes. Timing begins after a sled has crossed a starting line, which excludes the pulling from the handles and the paddling coming out of the starting gate from the run time.

There are two more sprint competitions scheduled this season - in Calgary next month and in Altenberg in February.

Loch timed 33.298 seconds to defeat Italian cousins Dominik and Kevin Fischnaller, who came 0.041 and 0.131 behind, respectively.

In the doubles sprint, Eggert and Benecken finished in 31.396 to beat Austrians Peter Penz and Georg Fischler by 0.088 and fellow Germans, Olympic champions Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, by 0.143.

Like in Saturday's race, Geisenberger led a German 1-2-3-4 finish in the women's sprint.

The Olympic champion clocked 31.396 seconds and defeated Tatjana Huefner by 0.106 and Anke Wischnewski by 0.108.

Earlier Sunday, Loch won the regular men's race for a fifth year in a row in dominating style.

The German, who won the overall World Cup title for the past three seasons, posted the fastest time in both runs and finished in an aggregate of 1 minute, 40.428 seconds.

Dominik Fischnaller came second in each run and trailed Loch by 0.137, while Andi Langenhan finished 0.201 off the lead to make it a German 1-3 finish.

The luge World Cup continues in Lake Placid next week.