WINTERBERG, Germany - American luge racers Chris Mazdzer and Taylor Morris finished 17th and 25th, respectively, Saturday, in a men’s World Cup event in Winterberg, Germany.
Mazdzer, of Saranac Lake, N.Y., had two runs down the speedy Winterberg course that totaled one minute, 45.275 seconds, while Morris, of South Jordan, Utah, checked in with a time of 1:45.825.
They were the only U.S. competitors in the 32-man field.
On a day when the track record was lowered in each heat, German David Moeller edged teammate Felix Loch by merely 0.009 of a second. Loch later commented that with the World Championships approaching in two weeks, he was experimenting in both heats with that important event in mind.
Italy’s Armin Zoeggeler, at 39 years of age, showed that he isn’t just marking time. The 2002 and 2006 Olympic champion and six-time World Champion set the course record in the opening heat and took the lead, before being overtaken by Moeller and Loch in the final run. Zoeggeler settled for the bronze medal, and stated later that a mistake entering the 360-degree Kriesel (Circle) turn ended his chances at victory. The top three were separated by just 0.05 of a second.
German racers collected five of the top six places.
The event, the seventh of nine World Cup meets in 2012-2013, was held on a pleasant 20 degree day in this winter sports resort in Sauerland. It marked the final men’s race of the season in Western Europe. The tour concludes is schedule next month in North America and Russia.
The World Championships will be held in Whistler, B.C., Canada Feb. 1-2, followed by a World Cup stop in Lake Placid, N.Y. Feb. 8-9. The circuit’s final event takes place in Sochi, Russia on the 2014 Olympic track Feb. 24-25.
Moeller, in winning for the second time this season, came from third place and was 0.1 behind after the opening leg. His time of 52.160 seconds trailed Zoeggeler and Loch. The Italian, meanwhile, started his race with a track record 52.061.
Moeller, the 2010 Olympic silver medalist, overtook both, using an improved start and some corrections at the bottom of Winterberg’s course. The winner’s final run time of 52.047 gave him a combined 1:44.207 to Loch’s 1:44.216.
Zoeggeler’s third place clocking was 1:44.260.
Loch still has a comfortable lead in the overall World Cup standings with 600 points on the strength of three gold medals and two silver medals. Moeller, after winning two of the last three events, is second with 498 points. Another German, Andi Langenhan, sixth on Saturday, is third on the season with 485.
Mazdzer, a 2010 Olympian and four-time Norton National Champion is 17th with 174, while Morris, in his first full season racing in the World Cup, is 25th with 120.
The Winterberg schedule concludes Sunday with the doubles race followed by women’s singles. Action resumes at 3:30 AM Eastern Time.
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Complete men’s results