Germans dominate World Cup luge, Canada's Gough 4th

Olympic bronze medalist Natalie Geisenberger led a 1-2-3 German sweep for the first time this season Saturday in the women's luge World Cup. Alex Gough of Calgary was fourth.
Germany's Natalie Geisenberger celebrates in the finish area after winning the women's luge Saturday in Oberhof, Germany. (Jens-Ulrich Koch/Associated Press)

Canada's Alex Gough came up just shy in her bid for a third consecutive medal Saturday, racing to fourth place in a luge World Cup event.

Olympic bronze medallist Natalie Geisenberger led a 1-2-3 German sweep.

Gough, a 24-year-old from Calgary, was fifth in the opening run before posting a track record of 42.393 seconds on her second run to move up to fourth.

"It was a tight race but that was a world-class performance by Alex with good starts," Canada's head coach Wolfgang Staudinger said. "It is not easy to have a result like that in Oberhof. It is a very technical, demanding track that is simply difficult to get down so this is top-notch."

Gough's track record was short-lived as Geisenberg clocked 42.050 on her second run to win in a combined time of 1:24.443, leaving world champion Tatjana Huefner 0.247 seconds back. Anke Wischnewski was third, 0.664 seconds behind. Gough's two-run time was 1:25.168.

"It is so hard to get down this track clean because it is so difficult, but the Germans know every inch of it because they train here so often," Staudinger said. "That is why they are dominant."

Huefner still leads overall World Cup standings, 60 points ahead of Geisenberger. Gough is third.

Earlier, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken of Germany won their first World Cup race by taking the men's doubles on their home track.

Germans Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt were 0.231 seconds behind. Austria's two-time Olympic champions Andreas and Wolfgang Linger were third, 0.655 seconds behind the winners.

The top Americans were Matthew Mortensen and Preston Griffall in sixth place and Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman in eighth.

"The track in Oberhof is a bit rough, but that's its character," Eggert said. "Even though everyone knows about it, we managed to make up for our lack in experience by having home advantage. It was a top-class event but we were optimistic about our prospects."

The Lingers still lead the season standings after five of nine races. The Austrians have 410 points, with Wendl and Arlt close at 395. Eggert and Benecken are third with 355.

"These are the most important weeks for us bearing the overall World Cup in mind," Andreas Linger said. "And, to be honest, Oberhof is not really among our favourite tracks. This is why we're all the more happy about the result."