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Canadians threaten podium on Day 1 at Luge World Cup

Walker, Snith match career-best finish at Whistler Sliding Centre; Edney sixth in men's race



Canada's Sam Edney earned his third-consecutive sixth-place finish in World Cup men's luge competition on Friday, Dec. 6 at the Whistler Sliding Centre, while Germany's Felix Loch continued his hot streak at the 2010 Olympic track.

Edney posted a two-run combined time of one minute, 37.106 seconds on Friday to rank sixth, the same position he finished in during races at Igls, Austria, and Winterberg, Germany, over the previous two weekends.

"Sixth place is a great result again," said Edney. "I know that it's that close to the podium. It's a matter of tenths of a second, which is inspiring and motivating."

Loch, who won Olympic gold in 2010 and the world championships in Whistler last winter, was victorious again Friday with a winning time of 1:36.686.

"It's nice to drive here," said Loch. "Since the Olympics, I think I've won every race here, so yeah, I like this track."

U.S. luger Chris Mazdzer finished second, picking up the first World Cup podium of his career, while Italy's Dominik Fischnaller placed third. Germany occupied the top three positions after the opening run, but David Möller and Andi Langenhan fell out of the medal positions on the second run to place fourth and fifth, respectively.

Rounding out the Canadian results, Mitchel Malyk finished 19th on Friday and John Fennell placed 24th.

Edney, who is good friends with Mazdzer, said he can take some inspiration from the American's podium finish as he aims for the first top-three of his career as well.

"That's going to motivate me to know that I can be that guy," said the 29-year-old.

"(My result) signifies that we're doing the right things as a team. The sled's running really great right now, which is something that I'm really thrilled with."

Earlier Friday, Canada's Tristan Walker and Justin Snith finished fourth in the doubles race. The Alberta duo clocked a two-run time of 1:13.378, moving up two spots on the final run after ranking sixth on the opening leg.

The 22-year-olds finished 0.291 seconds behind the winning German team of Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, and just 0.027 off the podium.

"We know we're close. We were definitely closer than we were last year," said Snith, as he and Walker missed the podium by 0.078 seconds when placing fourth during last winter's world championships in Whistler.

"The difference was our first run. We had a couple of little skids on the way down, and that was the difference between fourth and third."

Germany's Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken placed second (+0.084) and Austrian sliders Peter Penz and Georg Fischler wound up third (+.264).

Wendl and Arlt, who set both the track and start records in Whistler during the 2013 world championships, posted the fastest first-run time on Friday and hung on for the win.

"It's a very good track for us. We like it a lot and it's awesome to be here," said Arlt, who with Wendl has won three of four World Cup races to start the season.

"We are testing every World Cup for the Olympic Games in Sochi and we'll see how it goes."

Walker and Snith now have three fourth-place finishes in World Cup competition, earning the two others at the end of last season.

"Our last race, we were in fifth place but just 13 thousandths from the podium," said Walker. "That's racing, though, in luge. It's a really close sport. But I think we're definitely capable of pushing up into the top three."

Racing resumes Saturday, Dec. 7 at the Whistler Sliding Centre with the women's a team relay races. The women's event is scheduled for 3 p.m., while the relay gets underway at 6:15.


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