Johannes Lochner toppled Bob King Francesco Friedrich from the throne and won the world title in two-man bobsleigh for the first time. The eternal second took advantage of the opportunity that presented itself after the muscle injury of the record world champion.
The man from Berchtesgaden, who is starting for Stuttgart, and his brakeman Georg Fleischhauer beat the two-time double Olympic champion, who suffered a muscle injury four weeks ago and was driving with Alexander Schüller, with a 0.49 second lead on Sunday in St. Moritz. The Swiss Michael Vogt was third.
"Last thing on the to-do list"
"That was the last thing on the to-do list in this sport. How often I came second, that rankles. At some point you want to beat Franz. That was my big goal. It worked, I'm super happy, I a giant stone falls from my heart," said 32-year-old Lochner. Head coach René Spies emphasized: "Hansi has always been a fair loser, this time everything went well for him and he deserved to win."
Friedrich, who recently won seven World Cups in a row in the small sled and has been unbeaten at the World Cup and Olympics since 2017, was the first to hug his long-time rival at the finish line. "More was not possible, Hansi and Georg were consistently better at the start, also on the track and also had the better choice of material. So all in all a deserved win."
Despite his injury, Friedrich, who was behind halfway through the World Championships, countered surprisingly with the best start time (5.02 seconds) in the third run, but managed to do better on the natural ice rink in Engadin, Switzerland, where exactly ten years ago his series as the youngest two-man bobsleigh world champion at the time started many driving mistakes. In the end he saved silver thanks to a hundredth of a second lead over the Swiss.
"Damage limitation" for Friedrich
The Bavarian, who was only called Hansi in the team, beat the Saxon with his recipe for success: top starts and skill on the steering cables. Friedrich already spoke of "damage limitation" at the halfway point in the World Cup. The World Cup coup is spicy with the fact that the former hurdler Fleischhauer once started at the Friedrich-Club BSC Sachsen Oberbärenburg. Most recently, he trained at SC Potsdam under the direction of Kevin Kuske - Germany's most successful bobsledder in Olympic history.
Since this winter he has really taken off with Lochner. "Now we also want to get the overall World Cup," said Fleischhauer, who was born in Halberstadt and wants to persuade his pilot to continue until the 2026 Olympics in Cortina d'Ampezzo. The new champion still blocks. "I'll make this decision with my family after the season. The fact is, it hasn't been as much fun as it is now for a long time."
Laura Nolte won the first German world title in monobob for women. After bronze at the World Championships premiere in 2021, the two-man bobsleigh Olympic champion from Beijing prevailed 0.40 seconds ahead of monobob Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries from the USA. Third place went to Lisa Buckwitz from BCR Thuringia. "The goal was a medal after the disappointing fourth place at the Olympics. I didn't think I'd win right away. Kaillie is always a bank in mono, she's always the strongest opponent. That makes the win all the more valuable," said the 24 -year-old Nolte, who became youth Olympic champion in monobob in Lillehammer in 2016. In Beijing at the premiere of this discipline, she just missed a medal by finishing fourth by three tenths of a second.