Justin Kripps and Cam Stones finished just short of extending their podium streak to three after a hard-fought fourth-place finish at the Bobsleigh World Cup in Igls, Austria on Saturday.
The Canadian duo, who have celebrated silver medals in both of their World Cup two-man starts this year, were back in the medal mix on the flatter 14-corner track at the Igls Olympic Sliding Centre, punching the clock at 1:43.30.
“The key to Igls is having a fast start. It’s kind of like a push championships here,” said the 32-year-old Kripps. “I’m happy we were in the fight and we had pretty good speeds at the bottom of the track.”
Kripps, of Summerland, B.C., and Stones, of Whitby, Ont., were in fifth place after the first blast down the 1,478-metre twisting chute. They climbed one spot up the standings after clocking the third-fastest time in the final heat.
Kripps and Stones have been posting top-five start times in each of the first two World Cup stops. They chalked up the sixth and seventh-fastest times on Saturday.
“The boys have been pulling double duty this week sliding with me and (Nick) Poloniato so that our team can maximize his points before World Championships so there may be a bit of fatigue building up,” said Kripps. “It will be nice to have a bit of time away from racing after this weekend for all of us to recover a bit.”
The strategy paid off for the Canadian men’s squad on Saturday. Hamilton’s Poloniato teamed up with Olympic teammate, Ben Coakwell of Saskatoon, to post a season-best, seventh-place finish. Poloniato piloted his sled to a two-run time of 1:43.64.
Germany’s Francesco Friedrich remains unbeaten in two-man racing during the post-Olympic year. Friedrich and his brakeman, Thorsten Margis, captured their fifth straight gold with a time of 1:42.85.
Johannes Lochner and Florian Bauer, also of Germany, were second at 1:43.00. Latvia’s Oskars Kibermanis and Matiss Miknis slid to the bronze medal at 1:43.19.
The World Cup continues in Igls, Austria on Sunday with the four-man races.