ALTENBERG, Germany (Jan. 8, 2017) - Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) and his four-person push crew of Carlo Valdes (Newport Beach, Calif.), Jimmy Reed(Garmisch, Germany) and Sam McGuffie (Cypress, Texas) wrapped up the Altenberg, Germany World Cup with a ninth-place finish today in the newly built BMW sled.
"It was a really competitive race today," Holcomb said. "It's not where I want to finish, but that's part of racing."
Holcomb, Valdes, Reed and McGuffie powered the BMW sled off the block in 5.24 seconds for a first run time of 54.92, placing the team in eighth amongst a tightly packed field. The crew bettered their push to 5.23 in the final heat and Holcomb threaded together a clean run of 55.32, but the team fell just 0.01 seconds short of maintaining their position. USA-1 finished ninth with a combined time of 1:50.24.
"I drove well, I'm happy with my second run, and when I saw we had dropped a spot I was shocked," Holcomb said. "I'll have to look at the video to see why we were slow, because this isn't going to cut it. We're still working on the sled and runners, and every track is going to be a different setup. Ours today just didn't pan out."
Germans Johannes Lochner, Sebastian Mrowka, Joshua Bluhm and Christian Rasp claimed another gold medal for the host nation. The crew clocked a total time of 1:48.73 for a victory of 0.41 seconds, Lochner's first-ever four-person victory. German athletes won four out of five events this weekend.
Russians Alexander Kasjanov, Alexey Zaitsev, Aleksei Pushkarev and Maxim Belgin were second in 1:49.14. Germany's Francesco Friedrich, Candy Bauer, Martin Grothkopp and Thorsten Margis were third in 1:49.40.
Team USA's Codie Bascue (Whitehall, N.Y.) teamed with Frank Del Duca(Bethel, Maine), Adrian Adams (Reidsville, N.C.) and Sam Michener (Gresham, Ore.) for 15th place in the Night Train 2 with a combined time of 1:50.67. While Bascue has been in the driver's seat since the age of eight, he's still learning many of the European tracks at the age of 22. Bascue, Del Duca, Adams and Michener posted nearly identical start times of 5.28 and 5.29 seconds in the two-heat competition for runs of 55.42 and 55.25 seconds, respectively. Bascue's second run time was competitive with the top-10 in the field.
Today's four-person race concludes the Altenberg World Cup. The tour will make its fourth stop in Winterberg, Germany next week.
"On a track like Altenberg you have to be precise and aggressive, but Winterberg is more of a gliding track, you have to be gentle on the ropes," Holcomb said. "It's going to be tricky, but after doing this for 19 years, I'm still up for that challenge."
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1. Johannes Lochner, Sebastian Mrowka, Christian Rasp and Joshua Bluhm (GER) 1:48.73 (54.28, 54.45);
2. Alexander Kasjanov, Aleksei Pushkarev, Alexey Zaitsev and Maxim Belugin (RUS) 1:49.14 (54.55, 54.59);
3. Francesco Friedrich, Candy Bauer, Martin Grothkopp and Thorsten Margis (GER) 1:49.40 (54.52, 54.88);
9. Steve Holcomb, Carlo Valdes, Jimmy Reed and Sam McGuffie (USA) 1:50.24 (54.92, 55.32);
15. Codie Bascue, Frank Del Duca, Adrian Adams and Sam Michener (USA) 1:50.67 (55.42, 55.25);