KOENIGSSEE, Germany (Dec. 13, 2015)- Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) teamed with Frank Del Duca (Bethel, Maine), Carlo Valdes (Newport Beach, Calif.) and Sam McGuffie (Cypress, Texas) to finish 12th in the final World Cup race of 2015. The three-time Olympic medalist led Team USA's effort in Koenigssee's four-person bobsled competition, and Americans Nick Cunningham(Monterey, Calif.), Casey Wickline (Greenville, S.C.), James Reed (Garmisch, Germany) and Sam Michener (Gresham, Ore.) were close behind in 14th.
"Pretty disappointed in the finish and I just had no speed in the finish and it must have been the new runners I tried as it is as good as I have driven this track since I won here in Jan 2014." said Holcomb.
"It was a tough first half of the season for us, and we kind of expected that coming into it because we knew we were starting out on German soil on three of the most challenging tracks in a row," said Brian Shimer, USA Bobsled head coach.
Holcomb, Del Duca, Valdes and McGuffie raced together for the first time today. The four-person crew clocked competitive starts of 4.91 and 4.93 seconds, despite Holcomb's quadriceps strain that was sustained during the season opener. Holcomb threaded the Night Train 2 to the finish in 49.36 and 49.39 seconds for a two-run total of 1:38.75 to finish 12th.
"Coming into the season Holcomb was still doing some maintenance and recovery from his injury in Sochi, and the strain in Altenberg set him back a little more," Shimer said. "With that being said, we're still getting great experience for a young team. We'll continue to build on it and get better. There's no substitute for racing; these guys need to be out there to see what they're up against, and the only way to learn the sport is by doing the sport. You only have a few runs a week to accomplish that, so it's not an immediate education."
Cunningham and his crew of Wickline, Reed and Michener were consistent today with start times of 4.93 and 4.91 for nearly identical runs of 49.49 and 49.47 seconds, respectively. The team finished 14th with a combined time of 1:38.96.
Germans Nico Walter, Gregor Bermbach, Marko Huebenbecker and Eric Franke finished 0.18 seconds ahead of the field for the victory with a combined time of 1:37.57. German teammates Maximilian Arndt, Kevin Kuske, Martin Putze and Kevin Korona were second with a two-run total of 1:37.75. Switzerland's Rico Peter, Thomas Amrhein, Janne Bror van der Zijde and Simon Friedli posted an aggregate time of 1:37.95 to finish third, denying a German sweep of the medals.
After the holiday break, the World Cup tour will return to home ice with races in Lake Placid, N.Y. from Jan. 8-9 and in Park City, Utah from Jan.15-16.
"We're looking forward to having the home advantage when the second half of the season starts out in North America," Shimer said. "We expect to start with an upward swing and set the momentum for the rest of the season."
Visit www.usabs.com for updates and results from the various tours. For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USABS Marketing & Communications Director, at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at (518) 354-2250. Get updates on the team by following USA Bobsled & Skeleton on Facebook, USBSF on Twitter and USABS on Instagram.
1. Walther, Huebenbecker, Bermbach, Franke (GER) 1:37.57 (48.83, 48.74);
2. Arndt, Korona, Kutzke, Putze (GER) 1:37.75 (48.89, 48.86);
3. Peter, Amrhein, Van Der Zijde, Friedli (SWI) 1:37.95 (48.95, 49.00);
12. Holcomb, Del Duca, Valdes, McGuffie (USA) 1:38.75 (49.36, 49.39);
14. Cunningham, Wickline, Reed, Michener (USA) 1:38.96 (49.49, 49.47);