ST. MORITZ, Switzerland (AP) — Kaillie Humphries won another World Cup women’s bobsled race on Saturday, then immediately turned her attention toward a bigger prize.
Humphries got her fourth win in seven races this season, holding off reigning Olympic champion Mariama Jamanka of Germany and another German sled driven by Stephanie Schneider. She’s moved to the brink of winning what would have been her fifth World Cup season championship.
But Humphries almost certainly won’t win that title. Humphries and USA Bobsled are skipping the World Cup finale in Sigulda, Latvia, in favor of spending more time preparing for the world championships that start later this month in Altenberg, Germany.
“I’ll be honest, it’s hard knowing that I’m likely giving up the overall title,” Humphries said. “Most people won’t understand the decision to miss the last World Cup. But at the end of the day it’s what’s best for me and the team in order to prepare for world championships.”
Humphries — in her first season with the U.S. after leaving the Canadian program — has a 73-point lead over Schneider in the World Cup points standings, which means she would have had to only finish ninth or better at Sigulda to win the season title. Humphries hasn’t finished lower than fourth all season.
But her focus is entirely on Altenberg now. Germany swept the women’s medals the last time Altenberg hosted the world championships in 2008.
“The Germans will be dominant there, so it’s going to take all of my energy focusing on that track if I want to win,” Humphries said. “I won’t have any regrets because I’ll know I did everything I could to be ready.”
Humphries is bidding for her third world championship. She won in 2012 and 2013. If she drives to a third women’s title, it would tie Germany’s Susi Erdmann for the most in the event’s history.
In the two-man race Saturday, Germany’s Johannes Lochner won, with fellow German and series leader Francesco Friedrich — whose four-race winning streak in two-man events was snapped — placing second and Oskars Kibermanis driving to the bronze for Latvia.
Hunter Church was 12th for the U.S.