Contact: Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager
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Antoine fourth in French Alps
LA PLAGNE, France (Dec. 9, 2011)-Matt Antoine (Prairie du Chien, Wisc.) closed the gap on the Latvians and Russians to finish fourth in the second World Cup race of the season this morning. Antoine led the U.S. team in La Plagne and was the only competitor in a field of 26 men to challenge last week’s medalists.
“I’m pretty happy with today’s result,” Antoine said. “Not knowing the track before, it seemed like everything was thrown at me so quickly. Yesterday I knew I’d reached my comfort zone where I could perform well, so I was able to process little mistakes today and fix them.”
After only eight training runs on the French course, Antoine was able to reel in Latvians Martins Dukurs and Tomass Dukurs and Russian Alexander Tretiakov, who finished more than two seconds ahead of Antoine in the World Cup opener last week.
“I needed to rebound from my tenth place finish last week,” Antoine said. “I’m proud of my ability to learn quickly, and I enjoy going to new tracks. Very few people have been here before, so I felt like it gave me an advantage.”
Antoine was within striking distance of the medals after a first run of 1:01.61. Frank Rommel of Germany was the closest competitor to Antoine after the first heat, but the American widened the gap to finish 0.24 seconds ahead of the German with a combined total of 2:03.16.
“I was pretty happy with my position,” Antoine said. “I knew there were a few things I could clean up, and I attacked on the second run. It felt good, but it just wasn’t enough for a top three today.”
Tretiakov lived up to his nickname the “Russian Rocket” by breaking yet another push record. He exploded off the block in 5.59 seconds to gain nearly a quarter of a second on Antoine at the start. Tretiakov claimed bronze with a two-run total of 2:02.42.
Martins Dukurs hasn’t lost a race since before Christmas last year, and the Latvian doesn’t show any signs of slowing down before this year’s holiday. Dukurs led by 0.98 seconds to claim his second consecutive gold medal of the season with a combined time of 2:01.25. Tomass Dukurs finished second to his brother with a total time of 2:02.23.
“Everything stitched together; the push, driving, and the rest,” Martins Dukurs said during the broadcast interview. “I am really, really happy. Thanks to everyone that helped me. It’s a really tough track actually, something new, interesting.”
U.S. competitor Kyle Tress (Ewing, N.J.) is one of few athletes that have competed on the French course before. The former Intercontinental Cup competitor raced two top-six performances last season. Tress slid a combined time of 2:05.07 after clocking runs of 1:02.63 and 1:02.44 for 17th place today.
“Kyle had decent runs, but there just wasn’t any speed,” said Tuffy Latour, U.S. skeleton head coach. “We’re going to reevaluate the sled setup and see what happens next week.”
John Daly’s (Smithtown, N.Y.) rough start to the season extended into the second World Cup competition. Daly forgot his race bib in last week’s World Cup opener, which resulted in a disqualification, and the 2010 Olympian pushed out of the start groove in today’s first heat. Daly was unable to make up time lost at the start and slid into 22nd position with a first run of 1:02.85.
“John hasn’t been able to catch a break this season,” Latour said. “His results haven’t showcased his ability, so we’re hopeful things will turn around for him next week.”
World Cup action continues with the women’s bobsled event today. Watch live on www.FIBT.com. For media inquiries, please contact Amanda Bird, USBSF Marketing & Communications Manager, at email@example.com, or at (518) 354-2250.
1. Martins Dukurs (LAT) 2:01.25 (1:00.51, 1:00.74); 2. Tomass Dukurs (LAT) 2:02.23 (1:01.01, 1:01.22); 3. Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) 2:02.42 (1:01.09, 1:01.33);…4. Matt Antoine (USA) 2:03.16 (1:01.61, 1:01.55);…17. Kyle Tress (USA) 2:05.07 (1:02.63, 1:02.44);…22. John Daly (USA) (1:02.85, DNS);
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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: BMW of North America, Under Armour, United States National Guard, Kampgrounds of America, National Strength and Conditioning Association, Vivat!, Global Forwarding, KBC Helmets, Susan G. Komen for the Cure, EDAS/Ripxx, UberSense, Tesa Tape and Ferris Mfg. Corp. For more information, please visit the USBSF website at http://bobsled.teamusa.org.