Geisenberger wins season's 3rd World Cup luge race

The Associated Press

WINTERBERG, Germany (AP) -- World champion Natalie Geisenberger led a German sweep of the top three spots in World Cup luge Sunday, winning for the third time in a perfect start to her season.

Geisenberger was fastest in both runs down the Hochsauerland course to finish in a combined time of 1 minute, 53.457 seconds for her 19th career victory.

Olympic champion Tatjana Huefner overcame earlier back problems to finish second in 1:53.897. Anke Wischnewski completed the German sweep.

Americans Erin Hamlin and Kate Hansen were sixth and seventh.

''My runs were both a little sloppy in different places,'' Hamlin said. ''But I cleaned both up in different parts of the track. I'm very happy.''

Geisenberger leads the standings with 300 points, ahead of Huefner (200) and Wischnewski (186).

But a mistake from Geisenberger at the start of the team relay later Sunday cost Germany the chance of making it 4 for 4 in gold medals for the weekend.

Italy's Sandra Gasparini, Dominik Fischnaller, Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber took advantage and won in a track record combined time of 2:25.874.

Hansen and American teammates Tucker West, Christian Niccum and Jayson Terdiman were second. They were followed by Austria's Nina Reithmayer, Daniel Pfister, Peter Penz and Georg Fischler.

''I am super stoked to win my first career World Cup medal,'' Hansen said. ''I had a great team backing me up today and had a lot of fun in my first team competition. I'm super excited and can't wait to bring it home to show my whole family.''

The Germans were ninth in the relay. They had won the previous seven relays on the circuit.

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