Justin Kripps and Alex Kopacz Slide into Sixth in World Cup Bobsleigh
—Dave Greszczyszyn finishes 13th, Barrett Martineau 15th in men’s skeleton—
ALTENBERG, Ger.—Canada’s Justin Kripps and Alex Kopacz put down two of the fastest starts the day while sliding to a sixth-place finish on one of the toughest tracks in the world as the World Cup bobsleigh two-man season got underway in Altenberg, Germany.
Competing in their first race together, Kripps of Summerland, B.C., and Kopacz, of London, Ont., put down the second and third-fastest start times while sliding to sixth spot in the snow with a time of 1:53.63 on the punishing Altenberg track.
“It was pretty good today. It is always good to get into the top-six in a snow race because anything can happen,” said Kripps. “I really like these technical tracks. You have to be very focused.
The new sled is running well. I’m still trying to get a feel for it. We have all the parts needed for the podium, we just need to put it all together.”
One of those key parts was adding the 25-year-old Kopacz to his team this year – a move that is increasing Kripps’ start times and velocity down the track.
“It was a great start for us and something to celebrate,” said Kopacz. “We came out of the groove in our second load which put us into a bit of skid which is not good, but our training is going well and we need to keep getting better.”
Germany’s Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis clocked the winning time at 1:52.56. Latvia’s Oskars Melbardis and Daumants Dreiskens slid to the silver-medal step on the podium with a time of 1:53.02, while Korea’s Yungjong Won and Youngwoo Seo hopped onto the podium in third place with a time of 1:53.04.
Calgarians Chris Spring and Derek Plug also hit the start line but did not qualify for the second run with the top-20 after placing 21st.
Earlier in the day two Canadians suited up for the men’s skeleton race.
Dave Greszczyszyn, of Brampton, Ont., was the top Canuck in 13th spot. The 36 year old posted a two-run time of 1:55.15. Calgary’s Barrett Martineau also enjoyed a solid start to his World Cup race, posting a 15th-place time of 1:55.36.
Latvia’s Martins Dukurs picked up where he left off last year finishing on top of the podium with a time of 1:52.90. Two Russians grabbed the final two spots on the podium. Alexander Tretiakov was second at 1:52.93, while Nikita Tregybov slid to the bronze medal at 1:53.24
The World Cup continues on Saturday in Altenberg with four-man bobsleigh racing.
Top-Five Men’s and Canadian Results:
1. Francesco Friedrich/Thorsten Margis, GER, 1:52.56; 2. Oskars Melbardis/Daumants Dreiskens, LAT, 1:53.02; 3. Yunjong Won/Youngwoo Seo, KOR, 1:53.04; T4. Nico Walther/Christian Poser, GER, 1:53.23; T4. Maximillian Arndt/Kevin Kuske, GER, 1:53.23
6. Justin Kripps, Summerland, B.C./Alexander Kopacz, London, Ont., 1:53.63
Top-Five Men’s and Canadian Skeleton Results:
1 Martins Dukurs, LAT, 1:52.90; 2. Alexander Tretiakov, RUS, 1:52.93; 3. Nikita Tregybov, RUS, 1:53.24; 4. Axel Jungk, GER, 1:53.30; 5. Tomass Dukurs, LAT, 1:53.53
13. Dave Greszczyszyn, Brampton, Ont., 1:55.15; 15. Barrett Martineau, Calgary, 1:55.36