'I love the Altenberg track': Appiah slides to World Cup monobob bronze in Germany

Toronto's Cynthia Appiah clocked 1:58.86 to place third in a women's World Cup monobob competition on Saturday in Altenberg, Germany. (www.ibsf.org - image credit)
Toronto's Cynthia Appiah clocked 1:58.86 to place third in a women's World Cup monobob competition on Saturday in Altenberg, Germany. (www.ibsf.org - image credit)

Canada's Cynthia Appiah raced to a bronze medal on Saturday in the women's monobob event at a World Cup stop in Altenberg, Germany.

The Toronto native had a impressive first run of 58.80 seconds to go first overall and secured her spot on the medal podium with the second-fastest second run of 59.67 on the intimidating 17-corner track.

Appiah's overall time of 1:58.86 was enough to edge Lisa Buckwitz of Germany by 0.06 seconds for her third monobob medal of the season.

"It feels amazing to be back on the podium again," Appiah, who holds the women's monobob start record at 5.93 in Altenberg, told Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. "My runs weren't the greatest but it's a step up from the runs I put down last year during the two World Cups here so I'm taking the little wins as they come."

The 32-year-old Olympian added it's important to be alert on the Altenberg track from the start until the exit of corner nine.

"You are constantly driving and have no breaks," she said. "Once you are through the straightaway from Kreisel until the finish, it's another barrage of corners. It's distinct from other European tracks but I'm always up for the challenge."

The second-year pilot's first two World Cup podiums, both silver, were achieved on the gnarly 1,413-metre icy chute one year ago.

I'm content with where things are at, but I had hoped my season would be better at this time in the circuit. — Canadian pilot Cynthia Appiah

"Despite how difficult it is to get down, I really love the Altenberg track," said Appiah. "Having lots of success on this track means a lot to me because it's known as one of the most difficult tracks on circuit, that even seasoned veterans have had their issues on. It gives me a lot of confidence to continually podium despite how far back I am with my consistency in driving."

Appiah captured silver at the season opener in Whistler, B.C., and backed it up with bronze the following week in Park City, Utah.

"I'm content with where things are at," she said, "but I had hoped my season would be better at this time in the circuit. But it's a post-Olympic season and I'm constantly evolving in my craft. I've had to learn not to be so hard on myself and not expect perfection all of the time."

11 monobob medals in single events

Canadian-born Kaillie Humphries took first place with a combined time of 1:57.92. The American was second after the first run (58.95) before adding the fastest second run of the day (58.97) for her second World Cup victory of the season in the event and the 100th women's monobob podium of her career in major international competition.

WATCH l Appiah slides to monobob bronze in Altenberg:

Humphries has won 70 medals in two-woman races in her career; 60 in World Cups, seven at the world championships and three at the Olympics. She's won another 11 medals in monobob events — including Olympic gold at Beijing last year — plus 10 more on the North American Cup circuit and nine medals in team competitions.

Laura Nolte put host Germany in the podium by finishing second with a combined time of 1:58.47. Humphries's winning margin of 0.55 seconds was the largest in a World Cup monobob race this season.

Humphries got 225 standings points for the win, 15 more than Nolte got for finishing second. That gave Humphries 1,070 points on the season, 50 more than Nolte in the race for the overall title with three races remaining on the World Cup schedule.

Humphries was 0.15 seconds behind Nolte after the first heat. But her second-heat time of 58.97 beat Nolte by seven-tenths of a second, a huge margin in a sliding sport.

Canadians 9th in 2-man 

Winnipeg's Bianca Ribi was ninth. The 26-year-old posted runs of 59.88 and 1:00.25 for a overall time of 2:00.13.

WATCH | Full coverage of 2nd and final heat from Germany:

In two-man bobsleigh, Calgary's Taylor Austin and Shaq Lawrence-Murray of Scarborough, Ont., were ninth of 12 teams in a time of 1:51.64.

Last weekend in Winterberg, Germany, they stopped the clock in 1:52.66 for 11th.

Germany's Johannes Lochner drove to the win in 1:49.20. Britain's Brad Hall was second in 1:49.63, and Germany's Francesco Friedrich drove to third in 1:50.26.

Lochner, Hall and Friedrich all have four medals apiece from the five two-man races so far this season. Lochner leads the two-man standings with 1,067 points, now 31 clear of Friedrich — the margin was just six entering Saturday — and 53 ahead of Hall.

The two-woman and four-man bobsleigh races will take place on Sunday in Altenberg.

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