CALGARY—Kaillie Humphries teamed up with Jenny Ciochetti for the first time ever in the Canada 1 Eurotech sled to win the final Bobsleigh World Cup of the season at Canada Olympic Park in Calgary.
Posting the fastest starts in both runs down the 1,400-metre Calgary track, the Canadian duo clocked a golden time of 1:53.28. It was the second victory in as many weeks for the 2010 Olympic Champ, and third of the season.
“Canada has been good to me and I’m really happy with the end of the season,” said Calgary’s 26-year-old Humphries, who also captured a silver medal this year. “I’ve been focusing on driving consistently this year and things worked out today.”
Humphries and Ciochetti were joined on the podium by two German teams. Anja Schneiderheinze and Lisette Thoene grabbed the silver at 1:53.46, while Sandra Kiriasis and Petra Lammert claimed the bronze with a time of 1:53.54.
One week ago Humphries’ brakeman, Jenny Ciochetti, was piloting the Canada 3 sled for the second time ever on the World Cup in Whistler, B.C.. A four-year brakeman on Helen Upperton’s sled, the 27-year-old Ciochetti switched to the drivers seat in 2010, with hopes of driving to the Olympics. The Edmontonian put her driving dreams on hold Friday to take a test run with Humphries before heading to Lake Placid with the goal of pushing Humphries and Canada onto the top of the podium at the World Championships.
“Mentally it is okay making the change from brakeman to pilot, but it is a bit hard because I really like driving so it is hard to transition from driving,” said Ciochetti. “Kaillie is an awesome pilot and I knew we could do very well together. We’ve proven that today and I am looking forward to going to Lake Placid together.”
“Jenny is one of the most talented athletes I know,” said Humphries, who finished fifth in the overall World Cup standings. “We decided to join forces for this race and the World Championships to have the best chance at being World Champs at the end of the season. We are both fierce competitors, and talented athletes. We knew if we did our jobs and worked well together the win today would be possible.”
Calgary’s Helen Upperton and Shelley-Ann Brown, of Pickering, Ont., narrowly missed the podium in their final race before the World Championships. Upperton drove the Canada 2 sled to a fourth-place time of 1:53.94.
“Our starts were a little slower today but that happens. We had two good runs,” said Upperton who won a bronze in her season-opener last week. “We don’t like finishing fourth so it is a bit disappointing today.”
Heather Patterson, of Guelph, Ont., teamed up with Calgary’s Kate O’Brien to finish 15th in the Canada 3 sled at 1:56.25.
Meanwhile Lyndon Rush, of Humboldt, Sask., and Jesse Lumsden, of Burlington, Ont., narrowly missed the podium in the men’s two-man race. The Canadian duo clocked a combined time of 1:50.47 to finish fourth.
“Anytime you don’t win it is disappointing but I believe things are going well, I am feeling fresh and next week (at World Championships) is all that matters,” said Lumsden.
“We were in the mix all year and that is all that you can ask for,” said Rush. “We had two good runs again tonight but the others were faster. Our focus right now is on the four-man tomorrow.”
Switzerland’s Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter won the final World Cup of the season with a time of 1:50.14. The Germany 2 team of Manuel Machata and Andreas Bredau claimed the silver at 1:50.15, while Maximillian Arndt and Kevin Kuske solidified the bronze with a time of 1:50.40 in the Germany 1 sled.
Canada’s Justin Kripps piloted the Canada 2 sled to an eight-place finish in just his second World Cup. Kripps teamed up with Calgary’s Derek Plug to clock a two-run time of 1:50.86.
“That is my best finish on any circuit so I’m very happy with tonight,” said Kripps, who was a brakeman in Pierre Lueders’ four-man sled at the 2010 Olympics. “I built a lot of confidence last week and felt a lot more comfortable. Derek pushed awesome and I’m really happy with it.”
The World Cup wraps up on Saturday in Calgary with men’s four-man action. The race will be televised on Sportsnet at 7:30 EST.
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Complete Results: www.fibt.com
Top-Five Women’s Bobsleigh Results:
1.Kaillie Humphries, Calgary/Jenny Ciochetti, Edmonton, CAN 1, 1:53.28; 2. Anja Schneiderheinze/Lisette Thoene, GER 3, 1:53.46; 3. Sandra Kiriasis/Petra Lammert, GER 1, 1:53.54; 4. Helen Upperton, Calgary/Shelley-Ann Brown, Pickering, Ont., CAN 2, 1:53.94; 5. Cathleen Martini/Janine Tischer, GER 2, 1:54.12.
Other Canadian Results:
15. Heather Patterson, Guelph, Ont./Kate O’Brien, Calgary, CAN 3, 1:56.25
Top-Five Men’s Bobsleigh Results:
1.Beat Hefti/Thomas Lamparter, SUI 1, 1:50.14; 2. Manuel Machata/Andreas Bredau, GER 2, 1:50.15; 3. Maximillian Arndt/Kevin Kuske, GER 1, 1:50.40; 4. Lyndon Rush, Humboldt, Sask./Jesse Lumsden, Burlington, Ont., CAN 1, 1:50.47; 5. Alexsandr Zubkov/Dmitry Trunenkov, RUS 1, 1:50.70.
Other Canadian Results:
8. Justin Kripps, Summerland, B.C./Derek Plug, Calgary, CAN 2, 1:50.86.