Taubitz wins, Britcher second for US at snowy luge World Cup

Taubitz wins, Britcher second for US at snowy luge World Cup
Julia Taubitz of Germany starts during the women's luge world cup in Schoenau at Koenigssee on Daturday, Jan.5, 2019. (Tobias Hase/dpa via AP)

KOENIGSSEE, Germany (AP) — Julia Taubitz of Germany won a World Cup luge race on Saturday, prevailing on a day where snow piling up on the track befuddled many sliders.

American Summer Britcher was second and Austrian Hannah Prock finished third for her first World Cup medal. German star Natalie Geisenberger was one of many who struggled in the snow and finished eighth on her home track, ending a streak of 25 consecutive World Cup races with a medal for the Olympic champion.

Race officials decided to sweep the track after every three sliders, and those who were on the track immediately following the sweep reaped the benefits. Those who had to plow through the snow lost enormous amounts of speed and had slimmer chances of getting into the medal hunt.

Russian Ekaterina Katnikova, who was leading after the first heat and took advantage of clean ice, was 22nd on a snow-covered track in the second heat and finished 17th overall. Geisenberger managed to keep her World Cup overall lead, her advantage over Taubitz trimmed to 17 points.

Britcher remained third in the overall standings after earning her second silver medal of the season.

Conditions were a bit different in the earlier doubles race Saturday, and the results were more predictable.

Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken prevailed for Germany, with countrymen Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt finishing second. Thomas Steu and Lorenz Koller took third for Austria.

The U.S. sled of Chris Mazdzer and Jayson Terdiman was ninth.

It was the sixth medal of the season for the Eggert-Benecken sled, and the fourth gold.