Better push times in Austria for Holcomb as World Championships approach
IGLS, Austria - Steve Holcomb and his crew of Justin Olsen, Carlo Valdes and Sam Michener were the top U.S. team in ninth place Sunday in the Igls four-person bobsled World Cup.
“The guys did a good job,” said Mike Kohn, U.S. assistant bobsled coach. “The results don’t reflect that, but the team stepped up today and brought an intensity to the line that we haven’t seen yet this season.”
Holcomb, Olsen, Valdes and Michener combined forces for a competitive start time of 5.13 seconds to be in the mix off the block. Holcomb piloted the Bo-Dyn built, AdvoCare-branded Night Train 2 bobsled to the finish in 51.21 seconds to place the team in a three-way tie for sixth going into the final heat.
The crew pushed an identical start time of 5.13 seconds and was carrying high speed down the course, but the time wasn’t there at the finish. The team finished in 51.57 seconds for a total time of 1:42.78, bumping them back into a tie for ninth with the Russian team driven by Nikita Zakharov.
“We pushed well, and I’m not sure why we were so slow in the second run,” Holcomb said. “I’m a little frustrated. I thought we could have moved up, but I’m not sure why we didn’t have the time. The start velocity was decent, and I felt like I had a good run. I’ll need to watch video to figure out what happened today.”
“Night Train 2 and Team Holcomb showed promise today at the start,” added NBC and FIBT bobsled commentator John Morgan. “Last year Holcomb was second in this race but he also had the second best start time.”
Latvians Oskars Melbardis, Daumants Dreiskens, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga were victorious with a two-run total of 1:42.01. Germany placed two teams on the podium. Francesco Friedrich and his crew of Candy Bauer, Martin Grothkopp and Thorsten Margis snagged silver in 1:42.14, while Nico Walther, Marko Huebenbecker, Andreas Bredau and Christian Poser finished with bronze in 1:42.31.
Nick Cunningham teamed with Casey Wickline, Adam Clark and James Reed to tie for 15th place in front of a large crowd of fans. Reed’s friends and family from Garmisch, Germany brought flags and signs to cheer on the team at trackside today.
The crew powered off the start block with competitive push times of 5.15 and 5.14 seconds, and Cunningham navigated the original Night Train sled with some difficulty to the finish in 51.59 and 51.73 seconds, respectively. The crew clocked a total time of 1:43.32 to tie the Italian sled piloted by Simone Bertazzo.
Codie Bascue and his crew of Dustin Greenwood, Alex Harrison and Adrian Adams finished 19th in the Classroom Champions sled. The team clocked starts of 5.19 and 5.14 seconds and Bascue piloted the sled to the finish in identical times of 51.86 seconds for a combined time of 1:43.85.
The four-person bobsled race concludes the Igls World Cup.
1. Melbardis, Dreiskens, Vilkaste and Strenga (LAT) 1:42.01 (50.83, 51.18); 2. Friedrich, Bauer, Grothkopp and Margis (GER) 1:42.14 (50.96, 51.18); 3. Walther, Huebenbecker, Bredau and Poser (GER) 1:42.31 (50.87, 51.44);…9. Holcomb, Olsen, Valdes and Michener (USA) 1:42.78 (51.21, 51.57);…15. Cunningham, Wickline, Clark and Reed (USA) 1:43.32 (51.59, 51.73);…19. Bascue, Greenwood, Harrison and Adams (USA) 1:43.72 (51.86, 51.86)