Germany’s Geisenberger wins season’s third World Cup luge race

World champion Natalie Geisenberger led a German sweep of the top three spots in the third World Cup luge race to maintain her perfect start to the season Sunday.

The 25-year-old Geisenberger was fastest in both runs down the Hochsauerland course to finish in a combined time of 1 minute, 53.457 seconds for her 19th career victory.

Olympic champion Tatjana Huefner overcame earlier back problems to finish second in 1:53.897, while Anke Wischnewski completed the German sweep.

Americans Erin Hamlin and Kat Hansen were sixth and seventh.

Geisenberger leads the standings with 300 points, ahead of Huefner (200) and Wischnewski (186).

But a mistake from Geisenberger at the start of the team relay later Sunday cost Germany the chance of making it a perfect 4 for 4 in gold medals for the weekend.

Italy’s Sandra Gasparini, Dominik Fischnaller, Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber took advantage and won in a track record combined time of 2:25.874.

Hansen and American teammates Greg West, Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman were second, ahead of Austria’s Nina Reithmayer, Daniel Pfister, Peter Penz and Georg Fischler.

The Germans were ninth.