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Friedrich tops two-man race

Canada's Kripps just off the podium in fourth

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Francesco Friedrich is a hot starter.

But it hasn't quite translated into the finish he'd like.

The German bobsleigh pilot has now captured the first race of the IBSF World Cup season the past three years, but hasn't been able to turn that into a Crystal Globe as overall champion at the end of the season.

The 26-year-old continued his streak Friday night at the Whistler Sliding Centre with brakeman Thorsten Margis, capturing the two-man race by 0.46 seconds over Switzerland's Rico Peter and Thomas Amrhein and by 0.48 seconds over South Korea's Yunjong Won and Youngwoo Seo. The latter were the 2015-16 Crystal Globe champions.

"I feel very good. It's a crazy fast track and we made two good runs at the start," Friedrich said. "If you know where you have to drive, it's a good track and I like it."

It was a nice turnaround from his last run in Whistler in January, where Friedrich, a three-time World Champion, injured himself during the start of his first run and bowed out of the race.

The top Canadian sled was Justin Kripps with brakeman Jesse Lumsden, who finished just off the podium tied for fourth with the German duo of Johannes Lochner and Joshua Bluhm.

Kripps said conditions were slower than they were used to in training, and as a team that excels with higher speed, felt their style was cramped a bit with the way the track ran.

"We executed well on the track. Everything came together today but unfortunately that translated into fourth place instead of a medal," Kripps said. "We like it when it runs as fast as possible. We spent the preseason going 150-plus (kilometres per hour) in the two-man and today was 146, 147, which is unfortunate."

Chris Spring and Lascelles Brown rebounded in their second run to sneak into the Top 10 in 10th, while the sled of Nick Poloniato and Derek Plug placed 14th.

Action continues Saturday at the Whistler Sliding Centre with men's skeleton at 10 a.m., women's bobsleigh at 2 p.m. and four-man bobsleigh at 6 p.m.

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