Russia take Gold on high speed Whistler Track

With this weeks Russian bobsleigh doping news dominating the conversations in Whistler it was Alexander Kasjanov that took Gold in Canada.

Defending title holder Alexander Kasjanov of Russia, who was 4th in Sochi and himself currently subject to an ongoing IOC disciplinary hearing, celebrated his first win of the season at the third stop in the 2017/2018 BMW IBSF World Cup in Whistler. With his squad of brakemen – Ilvir Khuzin, Vasiliy Kondratenko and Aleks ei Pushkarev – Kasjanov pushed Lamin Deen/Ben Simons/Tony Olubi/Andrew Matthews (GBR, 0.28 seconds back) into second place. After securing a very narrow lead in the first run, Deen went on to get his first ever World Cup podium finish and equaling John Jacksons crews silver medal just prior to the Sochi Games. Coach Lee Johnstone described the result “As up there with the best times I have had in the sport”

 

The new track record for Whistler Sliding Centre (50.66 seconds) also went to Lamin Deen and his team who took the maximum advantage of an early start draw. and blistered down the track with a new bobsleigh speed record of 156.27kph. The old record was set by Steven Holcomb/Justin Olsen/Steve Mesler/Curtis Tomasevicz (USA) in their Olympic win in February 2010. Nico Walther/Kevin Kuske/Kevin Korona/Eric Franke (GER, 0.48 seconds back) finished third in Whistler.

Loic Costerg/Vincent Ricard/Vincent Castell/Dorian Hauterville of France, who also too advantage of the early start draw conditions, celebrated their best World Cup result to date in sixth place. Just 0.05 seconds separated the French squad from a place in the top three.

Deen, Toby Olubi, Ben Simons and Andrew Matthews recorded the country’s best result for four years just seven days after Brad Hall and his crew won World Cup bronze in Park City.

Deen set a new track record in his first run as he clocked 50.66 seconds off the back of the sixth best start time to lead at the halfway mark. The previous record had stood since the 2010 Olympic Winter Games but Deen and his team reached an incredible 97mph on their way to smashing the late Stephen Holcomb’s previous best.

Hall and his crew of Nick Gleeson, Joel Fearon and Greg Cackett finished ninth to make it back-to-back top 10s for the two sleds just 24 hours after Mica McNeill and Mica Moore had claimed their best-ever World Cup result with a fifth-place finish in the Women’s race.

“I’ve been in this sport nearly 25 years and this weekend is right up there with anything I’ve experienced,” said GB Bobsleigh Head Coach, Lee Johnston. “It’s on a par with last week – and to have two weeks like in that succession is pretty special.

“In two days of racing in Whistler we’ve won a silver medal; broken a long-standing track record; had two sleds in the top 10 again; recorded our best Women’s result for nearly nine years; and seen Brad equal his best 2-man finish of his career. The level keeps lifting.

“We’ve got a team of 19 people out here all pulling together and working hard for each other and that’s something that makes me very proud.

“One of our coaches, Petr Ramseidl, was working on the sleds until 2am and he was back in the garage at 6am today. That’s the kind of work ethic that everyone in the squad – athletes and staff – are showing week in, week out. We’re in a great place and the results are proving that.

“I said last week that one swallow doesn’t make a summer, but this is two now so summer’s getting a little closer!’

Deen’s silver was a first World Cup medal for the 36-year-old, whose previous best had been a fourth place in Placid in January 2016. It was also a first for all three of his crew and they played a major part in the success after clocking the second best start time with 4.74 seconds in Run 2.

Having won his maiden medal a week earlier, Hall ended Run 1 in eighth position in a time of 50.97 seconds despite starting from 16th in the 22-strong field. While most of those starting in similar positions found themselves unable to jump up the standings, the 27-year-old bucked the trend to get within six hundredths of a top five spot at halfway, thanks in part to the third best start time of the heat.

Despite having lost Bruce Tasker to injury prior to the start of the race, Hall’s team – which included a strong showing from debutant Nick Gleeson – clocked 51.55 seconds from the fifth best start time second time out as he secured his third 4-man top 10 in the last four races.

The results from Whistler mean Deen now finds himself fourth in the world rankings, with Hall in 11th spot after three of the scheduled eight races.

In the overall standings for the BMW IBSF World Cup 2017/2018, Johannes Lochner (GER, 601 points) managed to defend his lead in the overall standings by finishing fifth in Whistler. He current ly leads his team mate Nico Walther (GER, 577) and Justin Kripps (CAN, 562), who finished fourth in Whistler.

The circuit now moves to Europe with the next stop Winterberg, Germany in two weeks time.

RacerReady will be reporting the results and views from all the world cup races.

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