Taubitz takes World Cup lead, Fischnaller continues surge
SIGULDA, Latvia (AP) — Germany’s Julia Taubitz moved into the World Cup women’s standings lead on Sunday, while Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller continued his late-season surge in the race for the men’s overall title.
Taubitz won a World Cup sprint race and that finish, combined with a third-place showing from Russia’s Tatyana Ivanova, was enough for Taubitz to take over the women’s lead. Taubitz holds a 13-point lead over Ivanova with three races left.
Russia’s Viktoriia Demchenenko was second on Sunday and is third in the standings, though she’s so far back of Taubitz and Ivanova that a title is extremely unlikely. She could be mathematically eliminated as early as next weekend in Oberhof, Germany.
For the U.S., Emily Sweeney was 14th in the women’s sprint. Sweeney was the only USA Luge sled to qualify for the three sprint races on Sunday.
Fischnaller was second in the men’s sprint, cutting the gap with standings leader Roman Repilov of Russia basically in half. Fischnaller was 111 points behind Repilov entering the sprint and is now within 58 points of the lead.
Semen Pavlichenko of Russia won the men’s sprint, followed by Fischnaller and Austria’s David Gleirscher. Earlier Sunday, in the World Cup men’s full-length luge race, Germany’s Johannes Ludwig won, followed by Repilov and Gleirscher.
In the doubles sprint, Latvia’s Kristens Putins and Imants Marcinkevics were the surprise winners, holding off two teams — Italy’s Emanuel Rieder and Simon Kainzwaldner and Latvia’s Andris Sics and Juris Sics — by only seven-thousandths of a second. The Rieder-Kainzwaldner and Sics-Sics teams shared the silver.
Even without medals in the doubles sprint Sunday, the German sled of Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken remained in the World Cup points lead, 60 points ahead of fellow Germans Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt. Those are the only two teams left with a realistic chance of winning the season-long title.