From St. Moritz, SUI
(Jan. 25, 2019) – To say the start of the 2018/2019 IBSF World Cup season had been disappointing to Mimi Rahneva would be an understatement. Coming into St. Moritz the Canadian had one top ten finish (fifth in Winterberg) after putting together multiple seasons where she only had one finish out of the top ten. Rahneva has been her strongest in Switzerland though, and she flexed her muscles once again at the oldest track in the world,winning gold once again.
Rahneva came into the second heat .11 behind Russian Elena Nikitina. Both women had dominated the field at the start, and had what appeared to be the two cleanest trips down the track. Rahneva’s second run was once again seemingly perfect, putting pressure on Nikitina. The Russian answered at the top, out-starting Rahneva by .06. Her drive down the Swiss track had some small issues, and the amount of steering needed to correct them was all that was needed to put Rahneva to the top of the World Cup podium for the second time in her career.
Nikitina finished second, well ahead of German Jacqueline Lölling in third. Tina Hermann, Sophia Griebel, and Janine Flock rounded out the top six.
Nikitina will leave St. Moritz 43 points ahead of Lölling after five races. Tina Hermann and Sophia Griebel sit fourth and fifth, while Janine Flock is fifth despite missing the season opener in Sigulda.
American Kendall Wesenberg finished just out of the top six in seventh. The race gave Wesenberg her best World Cup finish since a silver in St. Moritz in January of 2017. Teammate Savannah Graybill moved up from 16th in the second run to finish 14th.
Outside of Rahneva’s stellar day it was a relatively tough day for the Canadians. Jane Channell looked frustrated after both of her runs, but moved up from 15th to 13th. That move was at the expense of teammate Elisabeth Maier. Maier had a good second run going but hit the top of the Horseshoe curve hard, and that was enough to drop her from ninth to 15th.
Only two British women raced in St. Moritz. Olympic bronze medalist Laura Deas pulled out of the race due to illness, leaving Madelaine Smith and Kimberley Murray to carry the load for Great Britain. The two women did their part, with Smith finishing ninth and Murray tenth (tied with Marina Gilardoni).
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