Golden sweep for German lugers, Canada takes silver in team relay
Olympic luge champion Felix Loch led a German sweep of the top-5 positions at the season-opening World Cup race Sundayin Austria, while Canada earned silver in team relay.
Loch, who is the defending World Cup champion, set a track record in his first run and was fastest in the second to finish in an aggregate time of one minute 40.229 seconds for his 11th career win.
"This track suits me," Loch said. "It has some difficult parts but I handled these almost perfectly today."
Germany, which also dominated Saturday's women's and men's doubles races by earning 1-2 finishes in both events, rounded off its unbeaten weekend by winning the team relay competition later Sunday.
Anke Wischnewski, Moeller and doubles pair Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt all won heats to finish in an aggregate time of two minutes, 8.950 seconds.
Canada, which took the relay event here last season, trailed Germany by 0.287. Italy came third, 0.787 behind.
The Canadian team consisted of Alex Gough, who won bronze in Saturday's women's singles race, along with Sam Edney, Tristan Walker and Justin Snith — all from Calgary.
"It is nice to show we still have it in the first race of the year, but there remains a gap between us and the Germans and we need to focus on closing that," said Edney. "We now know we can be in the medals, but that is not good enough anymore. We want to show we are a stronger team than the Germans, and overtake them. For anyone on this team, I think that would be one of the biggest satisfactions to say we took them down."
The IOC announced last year the luge team event will make its Olympic debut at the 2014 Games in Sochi, Russia.
Meanwhile, David Moeller came 0.307 back in second, and Johannes Ludwig took third, trailing Loch by 0.371. Andi Langenhan and Ralf Palik, who was just 12th after the opening run before placing fifth, completed the German feat.
"We push each other to do better all the time," Loch said. "The four of us have been competing since 2007 and Ralf joined us last year. We had a great preparation over the summertime and it's fantastic to see the results so early in the season."
It was the first time in the men's World Cup that all five lugers from one nation finished ahead of the field.
Austria's Manuel Pfister was the fastest non-German luger and finished 0.634 behind.
Edney was the lone Canadian to compete in the men's singles race where he finished 15th with a time of 1:41.113.
The luge World Cup continues next weekend in Koenigssee, Germany.