Canadians Devin Wardrope and Cole Zajanski Slide to 11th on Luge World Cup
SIGULDA, Lat.—Canada’s Devin Wardrope and Cole Zajaski led the way for a new generation of Canadian luge athletes while sliding to an 11h-place finish at the Eberspächer Luge World Cup on Saturday afternoon in Sigulda, Latvia.
Competing in just their ninth World Cup race ever, and first on the challenging Sigulda track, the Calgary-based sliders finished just outside the top-10 with a two-run time of 1:24.456.
“This week was really challenging for us,” said the 20-year-old Wardrope. “Sigulda is a track that we just haven’t been able to get right, and it got trickier with the temperature dropping 10 degrees the day prior to the race.”
The young Canadians were thrown everything they can handle on the 13-corner track that has it all, requiring the world’s best to work pressures, glide, slide the exact lines in particular spots and find the courage needed to be fast.
“We were a little hesitant coming into the race as we had a crash in the Nations Cup, but we put down two of our best runs of the week today,” added Wardrope. “The runs were far from perfect, but it gives us a solid base, and a lot more confidence going into next week.”
The Latvian team of Martins Bots and Roberts Plume successfully defended home ice, winning with a time of 1:22.642.
Germany’s Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt were second at 1:22.798, while Italy’s Emanuel Rieder and Simon Kainzwaldner slid to the bronze medal with a time of 1:23.024.
Trinity Ellis led a trio of Canadians with a 16th-place finish in the women’s race.
Ellis, of Pemberton, B.C., put down two consistent runs for a combined time of 1:24.329.
“I’m happy with how my race went. I was able to fix a few issues I had in training so that was a bit positive for me,” said the 20-year-old. “It was a fun and cold day out here today. I’m looking to keep improving and carry this forward into next weekend here as well.”
Germany’s Dajana Eitberger won the women’s singles event with a time of 1:22.999. Latvia’s Elina Leva Vitola clocked a silver-medal winning time of 1:23.093, while Germany’s Julia Taubitz placed third at 1:23.143.
Two other young Canadian luge athletes continued their development on the elite luge circuit in Sigulda.
Calgary’s Carolyn Maxwell grabbed the final spot in the top-20 with a time of 1:24.652. Caitlin Nash, of Whistler, B.C., finished 22nd at 1:24.774.
The Canadian team will remain in Sigulda this week. Sigulda will host back-to-back races on the Eberspächer Luge World Cup.
The Canadian Luge Association is a not-for-profit organization responsible for governing the sport of luge across the country. With the financial backing of from the Government of Canada, Canadian Olympic Committee and Own the Podium, the Canadian Luge Association safely recruits and develops the nation’s current and future high-performance luge athletes with the goal of regularly climbing onto the international podium. For more information on the Canadian Luge Association, please visit us at www.luge.ca on the Internet.