BOBSLED: Holcomb Struggles with Groin Injury, Finishes Eighth in Cesana Two-Man Bobsled World Cup
CESANA, Italy-Steven Holcomb (Park City, Utah) placed eighth after struggling with a groin injury in today's two-man bobsled World Cup event in Cesana, Italy. Holcomb strained his groin while warming up for yesterday's two-man bobsled make-up race, which has effected his start times."We would have done really well today if I wasn't injured,"Holcomb said."To be so far back at the start and still come out in eighth place is great."Holcomb's brakeman Brock Kreitzburg (Akron, Ohio) dug the team off the starting block with as much power as possible, but their efforts could not overcome Holcomb's injury. Pushing the 20th best start time of the first heat, a 4.96, Holcomb drove his Bo-Dyn sled into eighth position with a run of 56.42 seconds. After crossing the finish line, Holcomb limped away from the sled, looking visibly frustrated."Brock did a great job today keeping us in the mix,"Holcomb said."He pretty much pushed competitive start times by himself, which goes to show the caliber of athletes I have on my team."Again struggling at the start due to Holcomb's injury, the team could only muster a start time of 5.00 seconds, slowest of the heat. Holcomb remained composed during the run, piloting team USA I into eighth place with a second run time of 56.45 seconds for a two-run total of 1:52.87."The sled was really running well today,"Holcomb said."All I had to do was keep it pointed in the right direction."Holcomb remains second overall in two-man bobsled World Cup standings after today's race. World Cup leader entering today's competition was Canada's Pierre Lueders, who made driving mistakes in today's race, finishing behind Holcomb in ninth, dropping him in overall rank. Germany's Andre Lange is currently the new leader in two-man bobsled standings."Our sleds are fast here, I have a great push crew, and if I can drive well I think we have a shot at the top three tomorrow in the four-man competition,"Holcomb said."I should be able to hold on to my second place overall rank."The European drivers had more at stake in today's race, battling it out for the European Championship trophy as well as the World Cup win. Alexander Zoubkov and Alexey Voevoda from Russia claimed the World Cup gold as well as the European Championship title in dramatic fashion. The team slid the third fastest time of the first heat, a 56.02, but drove into the lead in the second heat with the fastest time of the competition, a 55.95, for a total of 1:51.97. Lange, reigning Olympic Champion on the 2006 Olympic track, teamed with Kevin Kuske for a silver medal performance. The German could not react to Zoubkov's impressive second run, finishing second with a combined time of 1:52.11 after runs of 55.99 and 56.12. Finishing third was yesterday's winner, Simone Bertazzo and Samuele Romanini from Italy. Bertazzo and Romanini clocked runs of 56.05 and 56.13 for a total of 1:52.18. Mike Kohn (Myrtle Beach, S.C.) and T.J. Burns (Blue Bell, Pa.) were USA II in today's race. Kohn tied Canada II for the 20th best run of the first heat, a 56.88, qualifying the team for a second run. Sliding a time of 56.83 seconds in the second heat, Kohn and Burns finished 21st with a two-heat total of 1:53.71. Junior driver John Napier (Lake Placid, N.Y.) gained additional World Cup experience today in Cesana with first-time World Cup push athlete Jake Miller (Waterford, Va.). The team pushed a 5.00, and although Napier made up time on the 19-curve course, USA III finished 25th with a time of 57.27 seconds. Only the top 20 sleds are given a second run. Log onto www.NBCOlympics.com, presented by MediaZone, to watch the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Team in action LIVE and On-Demand. Men's four-man bobsled will take place tomorrow, Sunday, Jan. 20 at 3 am EST. For complete results of the race, please visit www.bobsleigh.com, the Web site of the Federation International de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganning (FIBT). Results: 1. Alexander Zoubkov and Alexey Voeveda (RUS I) 1:51.97 (56.02, 55.95); 2. Andre Lange and Kevin Kuske (GER I) 1:52.11 (55.99, 56.12); 3. Simone Bertazzo and Samuele Romanini (ITA I) 1:52.18 (56.05, 56.13);_8. Steven Holcomb and Brock Kreitzburg (USA I) 1:52.87 (56.42, 56.45);_21. Mike Kohn and T.J. Burns (USA II) 1:53.71 (56.88, 56.83);_25. John Napier and Jake Miller (USA III) (57.27, DNS); About the U.S. Bobsled and Skeleton Federation The United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation, based in Lake Placid, N.Y., is the national governing body for the sports of bobsled and skeleton in the United States. The USBSF would like to thank its sponsors, suppliers and contributors for their support: Allianz Life, Columbia Sportswear Company, ULU Boots, CW-X, KBC Helmets, Racing Electronics, Schenker Logistics, Speedo and Whelen Engineering. For more information, please visit the USBSF Web site at www.usbsf.com.