Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Canadian Natural Luge Team – 2011 World Cup 4 - Kindberg, AUT

Canadian Natural Luge Team – 2011 World Cup 4 -Kindberg, AUT


With a shortened season facing our athletes, they had only 2 days training in Olang, Italy prior to their first stop on the 2010/2011 FIL Würz Energy World Cup Natural Track Luge at Kindberg, Austria.


The challenges of being thrust into competition with minimal training and equipment setup time push our athletes to the limit.  Wanting to be competitive from the very first run, while self-coaching completely on their own, left little room for error.


The first training run found some different results for the team.  Kaj Johnson posted the 19th fastest training run.  John Gibson (24th) and Greg Jones (27th) both struggled in the mid section of the track and their times reflected this.


After a night of sled tuning and preparation, the second training run again had mixed results.  Kaj (tied for 22nd) had some difficulty in the top chicane section of the track while John (24th) and Greg (25th) both improved their times.


In the first competition run each of the athletes posted what would turn out to be their best run times of the weekend, with Kaj in 13th place, John 19th, and Greg 22nd.


The final run for the men had our athletes all posting slower times.  In Kaj's case his time was less than .5 seconds slower which kept him in 13th place.  Both of the other athletes struggled in the chicane section and John slipped a couple of spots to 21st while Greg managed to retain his 22nd ranking.


Following the race, Kaj was pleased with his result and said "I am happy with my performance this weekend.  With not being on a sled until just a few days ago it is nice to see that the only athletes to finish ahead of me were from either the Italian or Austrian powerhouse teams."


John explained that "The lack of pre-race training is something we all struggle with, but hopefully the training days I have prior to the 2011 World Championships in Umhausen will improve my consistency for next weekend".


With a disappointing final competition run Greg said "Not having any time on a sled last season has left me rusty.  This means extra work over the training days that I have left in trying to get the sled setup correct".


All three are looking forward to next weekend in Umhausen, Austria at the 2011 FIL Natural Track World Championships.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

FIL Wurz Energy World Cup Natural Track Luge Kindberg (AUT) - Day 2


FIL Würz Energy World Cup Natural Track Luge


Press Release

Sunday, January 23rd, 2011


21st – 23rd January 2011

Kindberg (AUT)




First World Cup Win for Rudi Resch (ITA)

Lavrentjeva (RUS) Continues Winning Streak



It was the perfect day for Rudi Resch: "Normally I am always very nervous, but today I wasn't at all", said the Italian after his first World Cup win. Twice he had been runner up already, but never managed to claim the top spot. In the lead after the first run he was the last athlete to go down the track in the second run. "I have never been the last person up there, it was such a different feeling. After the chicane I thought that this went well, then each single curve was good and eventually the time was good, too."

Patrick Pigneter had messed up his first run and had to attack from the fifth position which he held after the first run. "This was a very strange situation for me. In the last five or six years I have never been that far behind. I am used to starting as the last athlete. With the fastest time in the second run he had been leading and felt it was really exciting today, "he said and was the first to applaud when Resch crossed the finish line and put Pigneter in the second place.

Anton Blasbichler claimed his 49th career podium result and completed the Italian clean sweep. "I like the track here quite a lot, especially the long straights. I have also had great equipment today and I remember the track from former races and training." The most experienced athlete had not finished on the podium since Passeier in December 2007 but showed once again that he is always good for a top result.

Florian Breitenberger (ITA) who had been ranked second after the first run could not repeat his good performance and finished sixth.


With her fourth win in as many races Ekatharina Lavrentjeva (RUS) demonstrated once more that she id the number one in the luge sport. In Kindberg she won again without any problems even though she was not familiar with this track. "I have not been here since the last race five years ago. I had only the two training runs to study the track and all the curves."

Melanie Batkowski (AUT) who had missed the podium last weekend, fought back and claimed the tenth second place in her career. "My second run was practically without mistakes, much better than the first. But today I lost the first place in the finish curve in the first run. Now the margin between me and Ekatharina is exactly the time I lost there."

Not satisfied was Renate Gietl (ITA) who finished third. "I am mad at myself. This is my track here. Here I could have managed to beat Ekatharina. I made a small mistake in the first run, tried to take the curve in a tighter line in the second run and made it all worse. Well, the race is over, my full focus is the World Championship now."


The Würz Energy Weltcup will be continued on February 11th – 13th in Unterammergau in Germany.



Final Result Women (15)


1. Ekatharina LAVRENTJEVA (RUS), 1:03,75(1), 1:04,37(2), 2:08,12

2. Melanie BATKOWSKI (AUT), 1:04,36(3), 1:04,01(1), 2:08,37

3. Renate GIETL (ITA), 1:04,01(2), 1:04,61(4), 2:08,62

4. Alexandra OBRIST (ITA), 1:05,33(5), 1:04,59(3), 2:09,92

5. Melanie SCHWARZ (ITA), 1:05,10(4), 1:04,83(5), 2:09,93

6. Evelin LANTHALER (ITA), 1:05,35(6), 1:05,32(6), 2:10,67

7. Tina UNTERBERGER (AUT), 1:06,37(7), 1:06,10(7), 2:12,47

8. Marlies WAGNER (AUT), 1:06,44(9), 1:06,14(8), 2:12,58




Final Result Men (31):


1. Rudi RESCH (ITA), 1:02,61(1), 1:02,93(2), 2:05,54

2. Patrick PIGNETER (ITA), 1:03,02(5), 1:02,82(1), 2:05,84

3. Anton BLASBICHLER (ITA), 1:02,96(3), 1:03,14(5), 2:06,10

4. Thomas SCHOPF (AUT), 1:03,03(6), 1:03,17(6), 2:06,20

5. Gerald KAMMERLANDER (AUT), 1:02,96(4), 1:03,41(8), 2:06,37

6. Florian BREITENBERGER (ITA), 1:02,81(2), 1:03,65(10), 2:06,46

7. Florian CLARA (ITA), 1:03,52(9), 1:03,09(3), 2:06,61

8. Florian BATKOWSKI (AUT), 1:03,37(8), 1:03,67(11), 2:07,04

9. Thomas KAMMERLANDER (AUT), 1:03,68(10), 1:03,38(7), 2:07,06

10. Michael SCHEIKL (AUT), 1:03,72(11), 1:03,59(9), 2:07,31

13. Kaj JOHNSON (CAN), 1:04,26(13), 1:04,69(13), 2:08,95

21. John GIBSON (CAN), 1:05,45(19), 1:06,64(21), 2:12,09

22. Greg JONES (CAN), 1:06,42(22), 1:08,95(23), 2:15,37




World Cup Ranking Women (4/6):


1. Ekatharina LAVRENTJEVA (RUS)                          400

2. Melanie BATKOWSKI (AUT)                                 310

3. Renate GIETL (ITA)                                             295

4. Evelin LANTHALER (ITA)                                      240

5. Marlies WAGNER (AUT)                                       188

6. Ludmila AKSENENKO (RUS)                                 173

7. Maria KOMAREWZEWA (RUS)                             124

8. Melanie SCHWARZ (ITA)                                      115

9. Veronika NACHMANN (GER)                                 114

10. Alexandra OBRIST (ITA)                                     110



World Cup Ranking Men (4/6):


1. Patrick PIGNETER (ITA)                                       385

2. Robert BATKOWSKI (AUT)                                   274

3. Rudi RESCH (ITA)                                                246

4. Michael SCHEIKL (AUT)                                       216

5. Thomas SCHOPF (AUT)                                       205

5. Anton BLASBICHLER (ITA)                                   205

7. Thomas KAMMERLANDER (AUT)                         202

8. Gerald KAMMERLANDER (AUT)                           175

9. Florian CLARA (ITA)                                             162

10. Gernot SCHWAB (AUT)                                      130

11. Juri TALIKH (RUS)                                              124

12. Björn KIERSPEL (GER)                                      108

33. Kaj JOHNSON (CAN)                                            30

34. John GIBSON (CAN)                                              20

36. Greg JONES (CAN)                                               19



Chris Karl

FIL Media Service

Saturday, January 22, 2011

FIL Wurz Energy World Cup Natural Track Luge Kindberg (AUT) - Day 1


FIL Würz Energy World Cup on Natural Track


Press Release

Saturday, January 22nd, 2011


21st – 23rd January 2011

Kindberg (AUT)




Pigneter/Clara (ITA) back on winning track



"No mistakes" was the recipe for Patrick Pigneter/Florian Clara (ITA) for the second run in Kindberg. They needed a good run to improve from the second place to the first and achieve their 17th world cup win. "Last year we were so dominating that we could win a race even with a run with a mistake. This is different this year, everybody has become faster, it is more competitive now", said Pigneter. "We also did some work on our equipment and we will improve the set up for the World Championships next weekend." With their success in Kindberg Pigneter/Clara now also scratch at the eternal best mark of 18 wins, still held by Reinhard Beer/Herbert Kögl (AUT).

The second place was once again taken by the eternal runners up, Russia's Pavel Porshnev/Ivan Lazarev, who scored the fastest time in the second run, but could not pass Pigneter/Clara. The Russians hold a record of 24 second places in the World Cup, followed by the long retired Beer/Kögl with 17 second places.

First run leaders Christian Schopf/Andreas Schopf (AUT), who were on winning course until the last corner, eventually finished third. "We were a little bit late for the last curve and tried to correct this, but instead we put the sled across the track and lost too much time." The brothers were not discouraged, though, and optimistic for the upcoming World Championships: "We know that we are among the top contenders now and we will focus on the future. We can forget today's race and a third place is not a bad result after all."


The overall World Cup is still wide open: Pigneter/Clara and Porschnev/Lazarev are tied at the first position, chased closely by Schopf/Schopf. The Würz Energy World Cup will be continued in Unterammergau, Germany, on February 11th to 13th, after the World Championships in Umhausen (AUT) and the European Junior Championships in Laas (ITA).




Final Result Doubles (10):


1. Patrick PIGNETER/Florian CLARA (ITA), 1:06,40(2), 1:06,11(2), 2:12,51

2. Pavel PORSHNEV/Ivan LAZAREV (ITA), 1:06,74(3), 1:05,92(1), 2:12,66

3. Christian SCHOPF/Andreas SCHOPF (AUT), 1:06,19(1), 1:06,51(3), 2:12,70

4. Christian SCHATZ/Gerhard MÜHLBACHER (AUT), 1:07,13(4), 1:07,34(6), 2:14,47

5. Thomas SCHOPF/Andreas SCHÖPF (AUT), 1:07,79(6), 1:06,74(4), 2:14,53

6. Florian BREITENBERGER/David MAIR (ITA), 1:07,69(5), 1:07,29(5), 2:14,98



World Cup Ranking Doubles (4/6):



1. Patrick PIGNETER/Florian CLARA (ITA)                           355

1. Pavel PORSHNEV/Ivan LAZAREV (RUS)                          355

3. Christian SCHOPF/Andreas SCHOPF (AUT)            290

4. Christian SCHATZ/Gerhard MÜHLBACHER (AUT)             240

5. Stanislav KOVSHIK/Ilya TARASOV (RUS)                         128

6. Aleksandr EGOROV/Petr POPOV (RUS)                          125

7. Thomas SCHOPF/Andreas SCHÖPF (AUT)                       115

8. Florian BREITENBERGER/David MAIR (ITA)             96

8. Björn KIERSPEL/Christian WICHAN (GER)                          96










Chris Karl

FIL Media Service


Friday, January 21, 2011

FIL Würz Energy World Cup on Natural Track - Kindberg, AUT - preview


FIL Würz Energy World Cup on Natural Track


Press Release

Thursday, January 20th, 2011


21st – 23rd January 2011

Kindberg (AUT)




Würz Energy World Cup back in Kindberg after 5 years' break



It has been five years since the last World Cup race was held in Kindberg in Styria (AUT). Ekatharina Lavrentjeva (RUS) and Renate Gietl (ITA) were already on the podium back then in 2005, as well as Patrick Pigneter (ITA). He had to settle for second, though, as he was defeated by local hero Gernot Schwab (AUT). Schwab did not qualify in the internal Austrian team selection last week in Gsies, so the luge community will watch closely  to see whether the World Champion of 2007 will be included in the team for Kindberg.

With their win last weekend the Schopf brothers made the doubles' world cup even more competitive than it already was. Christian Schatz/Gerhard Mühlbacher (AUT) were the winners in Kindberg in 2005. This winter so far their best result was a third place in Russia. In Gsies they were still trying to find the ideal setup for their sled. The doubles' World Cup saw three different winners in as many races this season.


In regards of the upcoming World Championships in Umhausen in one week more nations can be expected in Kindberg. Some countries usually only compete in the Championships and have arrived in Austria already to get some racing experience before the season highlight in Umhausen.

The Kindberg event will start with training runs on Friday and the double's even ton Saturday.



Program in Kindberg:


Friday, 21.01.2011


10.00am: Team Captain's Meeting

12.00pm: start of training runs

 6.00pm: Opening Ceremony


Saturday, 22.01.2011


09:00am: 1st competition run doubles

10.15am: 2nd competition run doubles

afterwards flower ceremony

starting at 11.00am: remaining training runs

01.00pm: Medal Ceremony


Sunday, 23.01.2011


9.30am: 1st competition run women and men

11.30am: 2nd competition run women

flower ceremony women


12.00pm: 2nd competition run men

flower ceremony


02.30pm: Medal Ceremonies




Track Info:


Length: 950m

Start elevation: 746m

Finish elevation: 620m

Difference in altitude: 126m

Maximum descent: 17,5%

Average descent: 13,22%

Number of curves: 12



Chris Karl

FIL Media Service

Sunday, January 16, 2011

FIL Wurz Energy World Cup Natural Track - Gsies, ITALY - Day 2

FIL Würz Energy World Cup on Natural Track


Press Release

Sunday, January 16th, 2011


14th - 16th January 2011

Gsies/Val Casies (ITA)




Serial winner Lavrentjeva (RUS): "I love all tracks"



With an overall time which would have ranked her seventh in the Men's event, Ekatherina Lavrentjeva (RUS) once more upset all her competitors. "I really don't even know what I did in the second run", the Russian athlete laughed and added: "I did not made a single mistake today. I really don't care if the track is short or long, steep or slow, I love all tracks." None of her rivals had much to laugh about though, when they saw Lavrentjeva's run times.

"I had nothing to hold against Ekatherina today, I have to admit that", said runner up Renate Gietl (ITA). "In the second run I took full risk from start to finish, but there was nothing I could do to beat her."

Still a junior, Evelin Lanthaler (ITA) finished third with two decent runs. "I was not without flaws, but on such a long track you can also catch up time and make up for mistakes. At the finish you can feel that this is a longer track. You have to stay fully focused, but I have trained well and I can feel that I getting better and better in shape."


Third consecutive win for Patrick Pigneter (ITA)


In the men's race the challenging conditions in the second run mixed up the intermediate standings after the first run. Only Patrick Pigneter (ITA) was the usual constant in the race and celebrated his third win in as many races in this season so far. "It was very difficult to stay here without any mistake, but I did well. I had a margin from the first run, so I did not have to go full risk in the second run. In fact I started slow, as I know that on this track you can crash easily, and yet I finished with the fastest run time. I am very satisfied with my performance."

Thomas Kammerlander (AUT) claimed the second rank and was next to Pigneter the only athlete who could keep his position of the first run. "Three weeks ago I was here for the internal national qualifications and I wondered what I was doing here. But then I became better and better and now I can look back at a great weekend here. The second run today was very difficult because there were some holes in the track already and I am glad that I could complete it with a good time."

Satisfied with his results but not his performance is Robert Batkowski (AUT). "My adjustments are far from perfect, the results are good, but the rest has a lot of room for improvement", said the runner up in the overall World Cup.

Rudi Resch (ITA) who was ranked ninth after the first run, showed a convincing second run, missed the podium closely and finished fourth.



Final Result Women (18):


1. Ekatharina LAVRENTJEVA (RUS), 1:23,36(1), 1:22,59(1), 2:45,95

2. Renate GIETL (ITA), 1:24,08(2), 1:23,88(2), 2:47,96

3. Evelin LANTHALER (ITA), 1:24,22(3), 1:24,08(3), 2:48,30

4. Melanie SCHWARZ (ITA), 1:24,30(4), 1:24,15(4), 2.48,45

5. Melanie BATKOWSKI (AUT), 1:24,63(6), 1:24,95(5), 2:49,58

6. Alexandra OBRIST (ITA), 1:24,44(5), 1:25,29(6), 2:49,73

7. Tamara SCHWARZ (ITA), 1:26,84(9), 1:25,80(7), 2:52,64

8. Michaela MAURER (GER), 1:26,38(8), 1:26,88(9), 2:53,26

9. Ludmila AKSENENKO (RUS), 1:27,72(10), 1:27,78(10), 2:55,50

10. Marlies WAGNER (AUT), 1:28,94(13), 1:26,86(8), 2:55,80


Final Result Men (29):


1. Patrick PIGNETER (ITA), 1:21,31(1), 1.22,08(1), 2:43,39

2. Thomas KAMMERLANDER (AUT), 1:22,13(2), 1:22,32(2), 2:44,45

3. Robert BATKOWSKI (AUT), 1:22,84(4), 1:22,81(6), 2:45,65

4. Rudi RESCH (ITA), 1:23,17(9), 1:22,50(3), 2:45,67

5. Michael SCHEIKL (AUT), 1:23,00(7), 1:22,71(5), 2:45,71

6. Florian BATKOWSKI (AUT), 1:23,27(12), 1:22,50(3), 2:45,77

7. Hannes CLARA (ITA), 1:22,85(5), 1:23,15(7), 2:46,00

8. Gerald KAMMERLANDER (AUT), 1:22,69(3), 1:23,34(9), 2:46,03

9. Anton BLASBICHLER (ITA), 2:46,46

10. Juri TALIKH (RUS), 2:46,64

11. Georg MAURER (GER), 2:46,95

12. Florian BREITENBERGER (ITA), 2:47,22



World Cup Standings after three races:


Women (3/6):


1. Ekatharina LAVRENTJEVA (RUS)                          300

2. Renate GIETL (ITA)                                             225

2. Melanie BATKOWSKI (AUT)                                 225

4. Evelin LANTHALER (ITA)                                      190

5. Marlies WAGNER (AUT)                                       146

6. Ludmila AKSENENKO (RUS)                                 139

7. Maria KOMAREWZEWA (RUS)                             124

8. Veronika NACHMANN (GER)                                   84


Men (3/6):


1. Patrick PIGNETER (ITA)                                       300

2. Robert BATKOWSKI (AUT)                                   240

3. Michael SCHEIKL (AUT)                                       180

4. Thomas KAMMERLANDER (AUT)                         163

5. Rudi RESCH (ITA)                                                146

6. Thomas SCHOPF (AUT)                                       145

7. Anton BLASBICHLER (ITA)                                   135

8. Gernot SCHWAB (AUT)                                        130

9. Gerald KAMMERLANDER (AUT)                           120

10. Florian CLARA (ITA)                                           116

11. Juri TALIKH (RUS)                                              102

12. Björn KIERSPEL (GER)                                        80





Chris Karl

FIL Media Service


Saturday, January 15, 2011

FIL Würz Energy World Cup on Natural Track - Gseis, Italy - Day 1


FIL Würz Energy World Cup on Natural Track


Press Release

Saturday, January 15th, 2011


14th - 16th January 2011

Gsies/Val Casies (ITA)




Overall World Cup Wide Open again after Schopf/Schopf (AUT) win



With two fastest run times the brothers Christian and Andreas Schopf (AUT) dominated the race in Gsies/Casies and secured their second career world cup win. "Too many times we could not perform on the same level as we did in the training runs, in December in Novouralsk for example. Now we changed our mental preparation immediately before the start and today everything went perfectly well", said Christian Schopf. "Now we prepare individually, not as a pair. I need quiet and calm, Andreas prefers a little bit more action". Still, the longest track in the world cup circut did not allow them a flawless run. "This is not only an extremely long track, it is also extremely difficult", said Andreas Schopf. "In the second run we hit the snow twice, but the overall tuning seems to be quite perfect now. We get along great as a team and we have a sled which is good under hard as well as soft track conditions."

The new Wurz Energy World Cup leaders Porshnev/Ivan Lazarev (RUS) gave away their chances to win in the first run already: "We had a short lack of concentration in the first run. The second run was good, but it was too late."

For the first time in their incredible career – after 16 first and five second places - Patrick Pigneter/Florian Clara (ITA) finished third. "We do not have the advantage with our equipment any more as we used to have in the past years", said Pigneter. "We worked a lot more on the single sled and trusted the advantage we used to have on our doubles sled. But I am sure we will come up with something for the World Championships." The dominating athlete of the past five years also has problems to find his motivation: "Somehow I am missing that ultimate kick. I do not see a great future for our sport. Not a lot has happened in the past years. I give everything throughout the year and at the end of the day I ask myself: what for. That might easily be my last season."



Final Result Doubles (13):



1. Christian SCHOPF/Andreas SCHOPF (AUT), 1:27,54(1), 1:26,57(1), 2:54,11

2. Pavel PORSHNEV/Ivan LAZAREV (ITA), 1:28,22(3), 1:26,68(2), 2:54,90

3. Patrick PIGNETER/Florian CLARA (ITA), 1:28,08(2), 1:27,31(3), 2:55,39

4. Thomas SCHOPF/Andreas SCHÖPF (AUT), 1:28,96(5), 1:28,14(4), 2:57,10

5. Christian SCHATZ/Gerhard MÜHLBACHER (AUT), 1:28,65(4), 1:28,59(8), 2:57,24

6. Björn KIERSPEL/Christian WICHAN (GER), 1:29,00(6), 1:28,44(6), 2:57,44

7. Florian BREITENBERGER/David MAIR (ITA), 1:29,37(7), 1:28,18(5), 2:57,55

8. Christoph KNAUDER/Thomas KNAUDER (AUT), 1:30,20(9), 1:28,51(7), 2:58,71



World Cup Ranking Doubles (3/6):



1. Pavel PORSHNEV/Ivan LAZAREV (RUS)                          270 points

2. Patrick PIGNETER/Florian CLARA (ITA)                          255

3. Christian SCHOPF/Andreas SCHOPF (AUT)                      220

4. Christian SCHATZ/Gerhard MÜHLBACHER (AUT)             180

5. Aleksandr EGOROV/Petr POPOV (RUS)                           125

6. Björn KIERSPEL/Christian WICHAN (GER)                        96

7. Stanislav KOVSHIK/Ilya TARASOV (RUS)                          86

8. Thomas SCHOPF/Andreas SCHÖPF (AUT)                         60



Chris Karl

FIL Media Service

Thursday, January 13, 2011

FIL Würz Energy World Cup on Natural Track - Gsies, ITA

FIL Würz Energy World Cup on Natural Track


Press Release

Thursday, January 13th, 2011


14th - 16th January 2011

Gsies/Val Casies (ITA)




Würz Energy World Cup returns to Europe



After the season opening in Novouralsk in Asia, the Würz Energy World Cup is back in central Europe now. The first stop in Gsies/Casies in the northern part of Italy will be a world cup premiere. The region is well known for its cross country skiing tradition and its winter sport resorts. But Gsies/Casies has also a history in luge: the World Championships 1990 and 1994 have been held there on the attractive and more than 1000 meter long track.

None of today's top athletes were serious medal contenders back then and could benefit from earlier experiences. But this weekend in Gsies/Casies the usual winners could already establish a significant lead in the World Cup, should they manage to dominate the field again. After the two races in Russia the margins are narrow but with another win Patrick Pigneter (ITA) as well as Ekatharina Lavtentjeva (RUS) could precipitate an early decision in the overall ranking, especially as in this season for the first time all six results will be taken into account.

In the doubles event Patrick Pigneter/Florian Clara (ITA) and Pavel Porshnev/Ivan Lazarev (RUS) are tied after two races. The fight between Italy and Russia will go into its next lap.



Program in Gsies/Casies:


Friday, 14.01.2011


starting at 1.00pm: training runs

5.00pm: Opening Ceremony


Saturday, 15.01.2011


9:00am: 1st competition run doubles

10.15am: 2nd competition run doubles

afterwards flower ceremony

starting at 11.00am: remaining training runs


Sunday, 16.01.2011


9.30am: 1st competition run women and men

11.30am: 2nd competition run women

flower ceremony women


12.00pm: 2nd competition run men

flower ceremony


2.00pm: Medal Ceremonies



Track Info:


Length: 1290m

Start elevation: 1680m

Finish elevation: 1535m

Difference in altitude: 145m

Maximum descent: 28,5%

Minimum descent: 9,3%

Average descent: 11,2%




Chris Karl

FIL Media Service