The 22nd FIL Luge World Championships on Natural Track in Latzfons (ITA) ended on Sunday with 3 gold medals for the hosts. In an winterwonderland Evelin Lanthaler (ITA) and Alex Gruber (ITA) took the World Champions title 2019. Italy also won the team competition.
Mission accomplished for Evelin Lanthaler. The World Cup leader was the clear favorite for the title, after the first two runs on Saturday she was in the lead with a gap of 1.89 seconds to Greta Pinggera (ITA) in 2nd position. In the final run the defending champion was the fastest, but she could not really close the gap to Lanthaler. The World Cup leader (5 wins / 5 races) had her second World Champion title after 2015 in the books with a lead of 1.80 seconds on Greta Pinggera, Tina Unterberger (AUT) finished third, 3.22 seconds back. The Russian Ekaterina Lavrenteva in 4th place missed the bronze medal by only 0.01 seconds. Thus, the three same athletes were on the podium in 2019 as in the 2017 World Championship, then Pinggera won ahead of Lanthaler and Unterberger.
In the men’s singles the old and new World Champion is Alex Gruber. The defending champion presented himself in really excellent shape on his home track and drove fastest time in the first two runs. Gruber had a 1.56-second lead over Thomas Kammerlander (AUT), third was Michael Scheikl (AUT), who scored the fastest time in the final and moved up from 10th to 3rd place. Scheikl kicked his team-mate Florian Glatzl from the podium by 0.21 seconds. At the 2017 World Cup in Vatra Dornei (ROU) Alex Gruber won ahead of Juri Talikh (RUS) and Thomas Kammerlander.
Bad luck for Patrick Pigneter (ITA). The second after the first run had a material break in the second run immediately after the startsection and had to stop. “I can not explain the material break. With this part I made 2000 runs, this happening just at the World Championship is incomprehensible. It did not break in training, but in the most important race of the season. ”
In the team competition Italy won the gold medal (Lanthaler / Pigneter / Gruber), in front of defending champion Austria (Unterberger / Scheikl / Kammerlander), the bronze medal for Russia (Lavrenteva / Kovshik /Talykh). The most successful nation in Latzfons was Italy (4 x gold, 1 x silver, 1 x bronze), ahead of Austria (2 x silver, 2 x bronze) and Russia (1 x silver, 1 x bronze)
The 22nd FIL Luge World Championship on Natural Track was closed with the award ceremony and the closing ceremony. The FIL Luge World Cup on Natural Track continues in Vatra Dornei (ROU) from February 9th-10th.
The quotes of the medalists
Evelin Lanthaler: “The 3rd run was good, but it was not my best run. The first run was really perfect, but today in the final it was not easy for me, maybe because I had such a big lead. My goal was the gold medal and I’m really happy “.
Greta Pinggera: “In the first run on Saturday I had big problems, then I changed the setup of my material and it worked. I’m very happy with the silver medal, because the whole season has not gone so well for me so far “.
Tina Unterberger: “At a World Championship the only thing that counts is the medal, no matter what colour. I successfully defended the bronze medal of 2017, that was the goal and I am really happy “.
Alex Gruber: “That was one of my best performance. To defend the title successfully is simply a dream, indescribable that I could win the gold medal at the home World Championship. The fact that I came from the neighboring village was no pressure for me, but additional motivation. I had three really good runs, the track and the crowd were great. ”
Thomas Kammerlander: “The last days I had not expected the silver medal. I have never felt comfortable on this track. Of course, it’s a lucky silver medal because Patrick Pigneter had a material break in run 2. But that’s the sport, I’m happy about the medal “.
Michael Scheikl: “I expected everything, but certainly not a medal. I had totally messed up the 2nd run, was only on rank 10. In the final I performed a very good run and I knew that I will improve in the result. However, I was expecting rank 4 or 5. Of course, I am very happy about the third place, even though my first World Championship medal was a big surprise “.