Canada's Walker, Snith 8th in Olympic men's luge tune-up in St. Moritz

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Tristan Walker, front, and Justin Snith, back, prepared for Olympic competition next month by finishing eighth in the luge doubles World Cup finale on Saturday in St. Moritz, Switzerland.  (Johann Groder/APA/AFP via Getty Images/File - image credit)
Tristan Walker, front, and Justin Snith, back, prepared for Olympic competition next month by finishing eighth in the luge doubles World Cup finale on Saturday in St. Moritz, Switzerland. (Johann Groder/APA/AFP via Getty Images/File - image credit)

Tristan Walker and Justin Snith adjusted well to their first time racing on the non-refrigerated track in St. Moritz, Switzerland, paddling to the fastest start times in both heats for a season-best finish in Saturday's luge World Cup doubles finale.

The 30-year-old Canadians, who are gearing up for their fourth Olympic appearance next month in Beijing, have struggled all season to reach their top form.

"The starts were very good. We feel like we've been short-changed by the timing eyes over the past while and not getting a true indication of how much speed we are actually bringing into the run, so we are happy to know that piece of the puzzle is there," Snith said in a Canadian Luge Association news release.

"There are a few differences here and there with the natural ice, but I had a lot of fun."

Walker of Cochrane, Alta., and Calgary's Snith — part of Canada's silver medal-winning relay team at the 2018 Games in Pyeonchang, South Korea — sat were third on Saturday after their first blast down the stunning ice chute that winds its way through the forest to the town of Celerina. A small hiccup in the final heat dropped them five spots down the standings.

"We just went into Nash [corner] at a poor angle compared to the first run and had a very small brush on the inside short wall and that's all it took," Snith said. "The second run was smoother overall, but that mistake cost us."

Walker and Snith finished less than a half-second off the podium, posting a two-run time of one minute 47.621 seconds.

Germany's Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecken clocked 1:47.209 and are World Cup overall champions for the sixth time. Teammates Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt (1:47.322) followed, with Latvia's Martins Bots and Roberts Plume (1:47.458) placing third.

Kindl captures men's race

Eggert and Benecken finished the season with 907 standings points, 24 more than the Latvian sled of Andris Sics and Juris Sics. The Sics brothers finished fifth in Saturday's race; they needed a second-place finish hang on to the top spot and claim the overall title.

It's the sixth World Cup title in the last eight seasons for Eggert and Benecken.

Wolfgang Kindl of Austria rallied in the second heat to win the final men's race of the World Cup season, finishing in 2:10.246.

Latvia's Kristers Aparjods was second in 2:10.267 and Nico Gleirscher of Austria was third in 2:10.546.

Germany's Johannes Ludwig had already clinched the seasonlong World Cup title entering the finale and finished with 871 points after an 11th-place finish Saturday. Kindl was second in the final standings with 791, while Aparjods and Germany's Felix Loch tied for third with 691.

The World Cup sliding season ends Sunday with a women's race and team relay.

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