WINTERBERG, Germany (AP) — Russia’s Aleksandr Denisev and Vladislav Antonov were easy winners of a watered-down World Cup doubles luge race Sunday, while many of the circuit’s top sliders sat out in protest over track conditions.
Denisev and Antonov won by more than six-tenths of a second, a massive margin in luge. Latvia’s Oskars Gudramovics and Peteris Kalnins took the silver, and Poland pulled off a surprise with Wojciech Jerzy Chmielewski and Jakub Kowalewski taking the bronze.
It was Poland’s first World Cup medal in more than a decade.
No teams from Germany, Austria or the U.S. competed Sunday, the final day of the Winterberg World Cup that was marred by athlete protests and racing boycotts over track conditions. The top Latvian doubles team of Andris Sics and Juris Sics did race, but finished only ninth in a 13-sled field and is now eliminated from contention for the seasonlong points title.
Russia won the team relay Sunday, followed by Italy and Latvia. Only six nations took part.
All three of the season championships — men’s, women’s and doubles — will be decided next weekend in the final World Cup of the season at Konigssee, Germany. The U.S., Austrians and Germans all plan on competing there.
Russia’s Tatyana Ivanova and Germany’s Julia Taubitz are the only sliders still in the race for the women’s season championship. The men’s championship will go to Russia’s Roman Repilov, Italy’s Dominik Fischnaller or Russia’s Semen Pavlichenko. And the doubles title will be decided by a pair of German teams, Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken or Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt.