Hays Thirteenth in St. Moritz, Switzerland’s Two-Man Bobsled World Cup Make-up Event

Jan. 15, 2009, 7:38 a.m. (ET)

Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager

(518) 523-1842, ext 106, abird@usbsf.com

 

For Immediate Release

January 15, 2009

 

Hays Thirteenth in St. Moritz, Switzerland’s

Two-Man Bobsled World Cup Make-up Event

 

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland– Twenty-four sleds vied for gold in today’s two-man bobsled World Cup competition in St. Moritz, Switzerland. American Todd Hays (Del Rio, Texas) slid the 1,700-meter course with Alex Sprague (Indianapolis, Ind.) to tie for 13th on the only natural ice track remaining in the world. 

 

Today’s competition was the make-up race for the cancelled event in Cesana, Italy, and the scheduled two-man race for St. Moritz will take place this Saturday, Jan. 17, at 3 am ET.

 

“This is one of the most beautiful stops on the tour,” said Sepp Plozza, U.S. team head coach.  “They rebuild the run every year, which means there is always something a little different each time you come back.”

 

Hays and Sprague slid to the finish with a two-run total of two minutes, 15.71 seconds after sliding runs of 1:08.17 and 1:07.54 to tie for 13th place with Russians Alexsandr Zubkov and Phillip Egorov.  The U.S. pair was in the mix at the start with push times of 5.53 and 5.48 seconds.  

 

“This track is very unique,” said Plozza. “This is also the only track where a late start order will be an advantage, because the ice becomes faster throughout the day.”

 

Hays has steadily climbed in international standings after his two-year hiatus from the sport, and has successfully broken into the top tier for an optimal start order.  Normally the top ten sleds to start have optimal ice conditions, but a later start on the natural track is more advantageous as the ice speeds up throughout the day with rising temperatures. 

 

Canadian Pierre Lueders had the benefit of a 19th start position, and slid a total time of 2:14.34 to capture his first victory this season with push athlete David Bissett.  The 1998 Olympic champion has struggled this season after crashing during Canadian qualification races in Whistler, rolling his sled again in Altenberg, Germany, and being disqualified in last week’s event for being one kilo overweight.  Undeterred, the Canadian duo slid the fastest runs of the day, 1:07.55 and 1:06.79, to claim gold. 

 

Ivo Rueegg and Roman Handschin slid a silver medal performance on their home track with a combined time of 2:14.64 after sliding runs of 1:07.78 and 1:06.86.  Swiss teammates Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter claimed bronze after crossing the finish in 1:08.03 and 1:07.05 for a total time of 2:15.08.  Hefti and Lamparter dominated at the start with push times of 5.32 and 5.29 seconds. 

 

Reigning Olympic and World Cup champion Andre Lange also struggled with an early draw, finishing 11th today to fall back one place in overall standings.  Hefti now holds the two-man bobsled lead with 971 points, with Lange 40 points behind in second.  Rueegg is third with 860, and Hays is sixth with 792 points. 

 

Watch Hays navigate one of the most beautiful stops on tour by visiting www.UniversalSports.com.  Complete results can be found by visiting the web site for the Federation Internationale de Bobsleigh et de Tobogganing at www.fibt.com.  For additional information about the U.S. team, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at (518) 523-1842, ext. 106, or abird@usbsf.com. 

 

Results:

1. Pierre Lueders and David Bissett (CAN) 2:14.34 (1:07.55, 1:06.79); 2. Ivo Rueegg and Roman Handschin (SUI) 2:14.64 (1:07.78, 1:06.86); 3. Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter (SUI) 2:15.08 (1:08.03, 1:07.05);…13. Todd Hays and Alex Sprague (USA) 2:15.71 (1:08.17, 1:07.54);

 

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, Vilter Manufacturing, KBC Helmets, Luminox Watch Company, ULU Boots and Ferris Mfg. Corp. The USBSF would also like to thank the following sponsors and suppliers for their partner, the Bo-Dyn Bobsled Project:  Whelen Engineering, PPG, Columbia Sportswear, JEGS Automotive, Lucas Oil, Mac Tools, EXA, Lumber Liquidators, Lincoln Electronics and Racing Electronics.  For more information, please visit the USBSF website athttp://bobsled.teamusa.org.

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