From Sigulda, LAT
(Nov. 21, 2020) – As the bobsled seasons change, some things change and some things stay the same. As it’s been for the last few seasons, Francesco Friedrich was the top pilot to kick off the 2020/2021, edging out teammate Johannes Lochner for gold.
Friedrich came into the second heat in second place, .08 behind Lochner, and on his second run it seemed as though he had left the door wide open for Lochner. The World Cup champion had an uncharacteristically sloppy second run, giving up .15 seconds to then-leader Michael Vogt on the bottom half of the track.
Lochner failed to capitalize. While the bottom half of his run was quicker than Friedrich’s, he gave up plenty of ground through the first ten curves, and then a skid out of Curve 14 sealed the deal for Friedrich.
The margin of victory was .04 seconds.
Michael Vogt finished the race with his second career World Cup bronze medal. The Swiss pilot put together two clean and relatively uneventful runs. After the first heat he was just outside of the medals in fourth, but thanks to a sloppy second run by Germany’s Christoph Hafer, he was able to move up a spot into third.
Hafer finished fourth on a track he’s been very good at over his short World Cup career. In five attempts in Sigulda, Hafer has a bronze and now two fourth place finishes.
Ralfs Berzins worked his way into the top five with a decent looking second run that, while not quick, was clean. The next few sliders after him, including Patrick Baumgartner and Simon Friedli, all struggled to put together an uneventful run. That was enough to put the Latvian in fifth.
A favorite coming into the race, Oskars Kibermanis never played a factor in the top half of the field. The Latvian had two very clean looking runs on home ice, but the speed just wasn’t there. He finished sixth, one place behind teammate Berzins.
Italy’s Patrick Baumgartner finished a career-best seventh with his first career top ten, just .01 ahead of Czechia’s Dominik Dvorak.
The race was missing a good number of teams, with the United States, Canada, Korea, and China all sitting out the first part of the season due to various COVID travel restrictions. On top of that, Russia had to pull out after a positive test in their camp. Great Britain’s Brad Hall injured himself during training and will be out until Igls, while Benjamin Maier also is waiting until Igls to start his season.
|Pos||Names||Nation||Bib||Start 1||Start 2||Run 1||Run 2||Total|
|1||Friedrich / Margis||GER||11||4.84||4.81||49.59||49.64||1:39.23|
|2||Lochner / Rasp||GER||8||4.84||4.86||49.51||49.76||1:39.27|
|3||Vogt / Michel||SUI||13||4.93||4.97||49.67||49.82||1:39.49|
|4||Hafer / Hammers||GER||6||5.02||5.01||49.65||49.93||1:39.58|
|5||Berzins / Bebriss||LAT||10||5.00||4.98||49.80||49.96||1:39.76|
|6||Kibermanis / Miknis||LAT||7||4.85||4.88||49.88||49.91||1:39.79|
|7||Baumgartner / Bilotti||ITA||3||5.02||5.06||49.78||50.07||1:39.85|
|8||Dvorak / Nosek||CZE||12||4.92||4.96||49.99||49.87||1:39.86|
|9||Friedli / Schläpfer||SUI||4||4.96||5.03||49.69||50.20||1:39.89|
|10||Kaufmanis / Kleinbergs||LAT||2||4.89||4.94||49.72||50.22||1:39.94|
|11||Heinrich / Lefebvre||FRA||9||5.03||5.02||49.95||50.05||1:40.00|
|12||Tentea / Daroczi||ROU||5||5.03||5.06||50.06||49.97||1:40.03|
|13||Variola / Ughi||ITA||1||5.03||5.03||50.11||50.42||1:40.53|