La Plagne stages mini comeback as host of the BMW IBSF World Cup
French track to welcome old faces as favourites
La Plagne (RWH): La Plagne will be staging a mini World Cup comeback in January 2020. The last time athletes from the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation (IBSF) competed on the track in the French Alps was 2015.
Some old favourites set to return
Some of the favourites for the 2019/2020 BMW IBSF World Cup enjoyed the same status back then. Any examples? At the 2015 race in La Plagne, the current leader of the World Cup, Francesco Friedrich (GER), celebrated the third of his now 23 World Cup victories in the 2-man bobsleigh and also finished third in the 4-man bobsleigh. World Champion Martins Dukurs (LAT) has not been beaten in La Plagne for almost 10 whole years: He won the last World Cup races there in 2011, 2012 and 2015. And the current leader in the 2-woman bobsleigh World Cup, Kaillie Humphries (USA), won two out of the last three World Cup races in La Plagne and finished third in 2015. This winter could also see the 2010 and 2014 Olympic Champion hit a new milestone in France: if Kaillie Humphries wins in La Plagne, it would be her 25th World Cup victory.
Return of the 2-man bobsleigh and second half of the 4-man World Cup
The race in the La Plagne sees the return of the 2-man bobsleigh teams to the BMW IBSF World Cup. Because the two 2-man bobsleigh races at the opening event in Lake Placid were followed by a double 4-man bobsleigh feature at the second Lake Placid event and Winterberg, the smaller sleds have been off the track for a good month. Once the sleds have been dusted down and the runners have had a good polish, the defending title holder Francesco Friedrich will step up to the track in first overall, followed by his team mate Johannes Lochner (GER) and Justin Kripps (CAN). All three have already competed against one another in La Plagne back in 2015, where they finished in first, ninth and tenth.
The race in La Plagne will mark the second half of the season for pilots in the 4-man event. After the fourth of eight races in the BMW IBSF World Cup, the defending title holder Francesco Friedrich is currently leading the standings. The athlete in second, Johannes Lochner, will arrive in La Plagne fresh from his victory in the European Championships.
La Plagne is uncharted territory for majority of female skeleton athletes
The BMW IBSF World Cup race in La Plagne will be a brand-new experience for a large number of female skeleton athletes. Out of the current top ten, Janine Flock (AUT) is the only athlete to have raced there in the past: She finished in tenth and ninth in 2011 and 2012. However, it is quite the opposite for the male athletes’ experience on the track in La Plagne: The Dukurs brothers, Martins and Tomass, and Alexander Tretiakov (RUS) have shared the podium at the last three World Cup races in France. Apart from Junior World Champion Felix Keisinger (GER), Jisoo Kim (who finished sixth at the Olympics) and Marcus Wyatt (GBR), all athletes at the top of the World Cup field have competed in at least one race in La Plagne. ©RWH2020
The schedule for La Plagne
On the sidelines
Amadou Krubally (GAM) has represented his home country in the IBSF in a variety of roles: As the founding member and President of IceGambia, the 27-year-old recently added the West African country to the list of national associations in the IBSF. At the same time, Amadou Krubally has also been competing as a skeleton athlete in the Europe Cup since the start of the season. Amadou Krubally competed as a sprinter in the Gambia and currently plays football for FC Erlenbach 2018 in Switzerland, where he lives. The club, which is based not far from Zurich, aims to promote integration through sport. “When I get together with my team-mates from Switzerland and all the other countries, I feel at ease and supported. The club is like my second family in Switzerland,” wrote Amadou Krubally on the club's website. Since the start of the season, he has been clocking up his first few kilometres on the sliding track and gaining competitive experience in the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation’s (IBSF) Europe Cup. (Winterberg 36th, Königssee 41st and 39th) Three other African countries are also active in IBSF disciplines: The most well-known is probably Akwasi Frimpong. The 33-year-old represented Ghana at the 2017 BMW IBSF World Championships and the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang and is currently competing in the North American Cup. Darack Nanto from Togo is competing in his debut season in the IBSF North American Cup. The 26-year-old engineer has a dazzling sporting history, including experience in judo, capoeira and weight lifting. South Africa has not one but two athletes: Bobsleigh athlete Michael Stevens is competing in the IBSF Para Sport World Cup, while skeleton athlete Gregory Martin is appearing in the IBSF Europe Cup. ©RWH2020
Helen Upperton and Elisabeth Maier (CAN) celebrated the arrival of some future sporting stars for Canada in December. Helen Upperton, the 2010 Olympic silver medallist in the 2-woman bobsleigh, and her husband Jesse Lumsden welcomed their son Rowan. Jesse Lumsden, the runner-up in the World Championships in 2012 (with pilot Lyndon Rush) and 2017 (with Justin Kripps), represented Canada in the bobsleigh. Elisabeth Maier and her husband Benjamin also became parents to a son: Hendrix Finn arrived on Christmas Eve. The Canadian skeleton athlete won bronze in the 2015 World Championships in Winterberg (GER) under her maiden name Vathje. Benjamin Maier is a bobsleigh pilot for Austria. In 2017, he won bronze in the 4-man bobsleigh European Championships but he is currently taking a break due to injury. ©RWH2020
This season’s winners in the 2019/2020 BMW IBSF World Cup – Skeleton
This season’s winners in the 2019/2020 BMW IBSF World Cup – Bobsleigh pilots
>> Athlete profiles on ibsf.org with medals tables, news and photos for all athletes
You can follow the action in all races in the 2019/2020 BMW IBSF World Cup on our live stream and the live results ticker ibsf.org as usual. In Latvia, LTV has exclusive broadcasting rights for all events, which will appear either on TV or on its own live stream. NBC/Olympic Channel (USA), CBC (Canada) and SRG (Switzerland) will be showing some World Cup races live and ARD and ZDF in Germany will showing some races live or live or with a short delay. In these countries, the live stream on ibsf.org and Youtube will be blocked.
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