He won the overall world cup in two- and four-man bobsleigh this season. Now francesco friedrich is about to make his mark in the history books of bobsledding. At the bobsleigh and skeleton world championships in whistler mountain, canada, which begin this friday, the saxon was able to become two-time bobsleigh world champion for the fifth time in a row. Only the italian eugenio monti has ever achieved this between 1957 and 1961. Friedrich ended the series with a victory on the high-speed track. "At the world championships 2020 in altenberg on my home track, i want to land the sixth coup", says friedrich. Head coach rene spies, however, remains cautious and warns his showcase pilot. "For me, justin kripps remains the top favorite," said spies and sees the two-man bobsleigh olympic champion from canada, who is tied with friedrich in pyeongchang, in a special position on his home track.
Johannes lochner and his team arrived in the winter sports resort north of vancouver with the wind in their sails. Two third-place finishes for lochner at the world cup finals in calgary. Despite the difficult start to the season, the crew from konigssee also managed to finish third in the four-man overall world cup. We talked to christian rasp, who comes from mainbernheim (lkr.), about the prospects. Kitzingen) comes and starts for WSV konigssee.
Question: why is the world cup more important for the bobbers than the world cup??
Christian rasp: I think that, as in many other sports, it is due to the excitement of the season’s climax. You have to be the best on day X, and in the years between the olympic games, that’s the world championships. One also prepares oneself more purposefully for such a rough event. Our pilots flew to whistler for a week in november to train on the world championship track and to test their material. While world cup races are partly completed from full training, you want and have to show yourself in top form at a world championship, because experience shows that other teams will also present themselves better than usual.
In contrast to world cup races, the two-man and four-man races will each be run in four instead of two races.
Rasp: yes, that’s another attraction of a world championship. A result after four runs says more about the consistency of the rider and the athletic stamina of the whole team than after only two. Also the weather conditions can change and you have to deal with that. So the wheat is being separated from the chaff! Or not – like two years ago, when we and team francesco friedrich reached the finish line at the same time after four runs and in the end there were two deserved world champions.
How is the mood in team lochner after the two overseas world cups?? What are your plans for whistler? One medal each? Or the title defense in the foursome after all?
Rasp: it was clear to us from the beginning that the season really starts in the USA and canada, because you are torn out of your comfort zone on the european tracks. This also showed immediately at the world cup, when the german teams didn’t dominate as usual. In lake placid we even fell back from first place in the first run to seventh place in the second run. This shows that it will not be a self-runner, but at the same time that everything is in it. The two good third places in calgary recently have shown that we can also reach the podium in both sleds on a canadian track.
How are you personally? Is maximum thrust possible?
Rasp: I am personally in very good shape. I have changed a few things in training over the last few months. This has been noticeable both in the individual push, but above all in my missions in the two-man and four-man teams. But of course this is always an achievement of the whole team as well!
Christopher weber, who had to undergo a skin transplant on his shoulder after a fall at the beginning of the year, returned to the team shortly before the world championships. Are we right in assuming that, despite successful two-man bobsleds in weber’s absence, they will limit themselves to the four-man, which will be run on the two final days of the world championships??
Rasp: yes. After christopher has competed in the two-man world championships, i will concentrate exclusively on the four-man bobsleigh.
What is important on the track in whistler?? How have you – and especially johannes lochner on the steering ropes – managed here so far??
Rasp: I personally have good memories of whistler. I was able to compete in my first world cup race here. Three years ago, with only two training runs, we surprisingly came third in the four-man race, after having finished eleventh in the first race. We have also always started well here. Apparently this start profile suits us. But it is also a path of extremes. It is the fastest bobsled run in the world with speeds of up to 155 km/h. With "curve 50/50" (note. D. Red.(in the past, only 50 percent of those who started made it through turn 13 without an accident), the track lived up to its reputation again this year during the first training session on tuesday. 15 sleds have fallen. This shows that you have to be wide awake and concentrated on the task at hand.