WINTERBERG, Ger.—Mitchel Malyk finished just outside of the coveted top-15 position in a deep men’s field at the Luge World Cup opener in Winterberg, Germany on Sunday where he was the top-Canadian sled.
Posting start times well back in the field, the 21-year-old Calgarian made up valuable time on the 15-corner track he chalked up a two-run time of 1:45.320 for 16th place. Malyk, who broke through last season with a string of career-best results in the top-10 along with playing a key role in Canada’s World Championship medal-winning relay team, also battled consistency in the season opener. Continuing to gain valuable experience, Malyk dropped five spots in the standings after a few costly mistakes got the best of him in the final heat.
“Mitch had a solid performance today, but we are just too slow off the start,” said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach, Canadian Luge Team. “The men’s field is way too competitive and you can’t get away with slow starts. It is absolutely critical to be fast at the top if we want to be in the mix with the best.”
Germany’s Johannes Ludwig pulled off monster starts and his first win of the season despite a making a big error on his second run. Ludwig clocked a gold-medal winning time of 1:44.732.
Russia’s Roman Repilov slid to the silver medal position on the podium at 1:44.921, while Germany’s Andi Langenhan was third at 1:44.977.
Mother Nature got the best of Canada’s Sam Edney in his return to the World Cup circuit after taking last season off.
Changing weather conditions from rain, snow and sun forced Edney and his coaches hands into changing his sled set-up just before the race. The gamble didn’t pay off. The Calgarian slid to 21st place with a time of 1:45.378.
“I think changing Sam’s set-up was a self-inflicted wound for us today,” said Staudinger. “Like a skier choosing the right wax, sometimes you have to take a risk and it didn’t work for us today. I know if Sam continues to work hard both on and off the track, he is going to be back to his old form, but it is going to take time and work to get there.”
The World Cup now heads to North America for a race next weekend in Lake Placid, NY before heading to the Whistler Sliding Centre for the third stop on the circuit, December 9-10.
- Johannes Ludwig, GER, 1:44.732; 2. Roman Repilov, RUS, 1:44.921; 3. Andi Langenhan, GER, 1:44.977; 4. Felix Loch, GER, 1:45.029; 5. Semen Pavlichenko, RUS, 1:45.039.
- Mitchel Malyk, Calgary, 1:45.320; 21. Sam Edney, Calgary, 1:45.378