Germany's Francesco wins World Cup four-man bobsled, Canada's Kripps third

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INNSBRUCK, Austria — Friedrich Francesco piloted Germany to gold and Justin Kripps drove Canada to bronze Sunday in the final World Cup four-man bobsled race before the world championship.

Francesco and Kripps of Summerland, B.C., tied for two-man bobsled gold at the 2018 Olympic Games in Pyeongchang, South Korea.

Francesco and his German crew posted the fastest times in both runs Sunday.

Kripps and brakemen Ryan Sommer of White Rock, B.C., Saskatoon's Benjamin Coakwell and Cam Stones of Whitby, Ont., finished .39 seconds back of the Germans in third.

The Canadian were also third after the opening run. Benjamin Maier drove Austria to silver.

Kripps finished third overall in the season's World Cup four-man standings behind Francesco in first and Maier in second.

The Canadian crew captured a silver and two bronze medals in just four starts in a condensed four-man season because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

“We didn’t set any overall goals this year," Kripps said. "We always want to be hunting down the podium but with COVID situations this year, it was all about building some momentum and seeing what we need to work on,.

"We're feeling great heading into the world championships.”

The world bobsled and skeleton championships open Friday in Altenberg, Germany.

Toronto's Cynthia Appiah and Edmonton's Dawn Richardson Wilson missed a medal by two-hundredths of a second and placed fourth in the women's bobsled.

Less than a tenth of a second separated the top four teams.

Kaillie Humphries, a two-time Olympic champion for Canada who now competes for the United States, won Sunday's race with brakewoman Lolo Jones.

American teammates Elana Meyers Taylor and Kwaza Lake finished second, followed by Austrians Katrin Beierl and Jennifer Jantina Oluumi Desire Onasanya in third.

Melissa Lotholz of Barrhead, Alta., and Sara Villani of Norval, Ont., were fifth.

Canada's top women's pilot Christine De Bruin opted out of the World Cup finale to get more training on the Altenberg track for the world championship.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Jan. 31, 2021.

The Canadian Press