Helen Upperton Leads all Three Canadian Women’s Sleds into Top-10 at World Cup in Italy

CESANA, Ita.—Helen Upperton led all three Canadian women’s sleds into the top-10 with a fourth-place finish in World Cup bobsleigh action on Saturday in Cesana, Italy.


The 30-year-old Calgarian, who is one of the top pilots in the world on the women’s circuit, reconvened with Edmonton’s Jenny Ciochetti to post a two-run time of one minute 56.51 seconds for her best result of the year in the Canada 2 sled. It was Ciochetti’s first race of the season since recovering from an injury sustained this fall.


“I’m not completely happy with any of my race results so far, but last year I came out and won right away and then struggled later in the year and maybe this year things are going to be different,” said Upperton. “I think I have been concentrating too much on results and not enough on doing the right things down the track. It was nice to have Jenny back competing this week. All of the girls have been pushing so great so the pilots are in such a great position and helps us to focus on driving.”


Fourth place is familiar territory for Upperton in Italy. She missed the podium by five one-hundredths of a second at the 2006 Olympic Winter Games on the 19-corner Cesana track. Upperton also finished fourth at the 2008 World Championships.


“I’ve really dropped that fourth place thinking because I won here two years ago,” said Upperton. “I really believe it is not where you finish, but how you perform and I am okay with not winning a medal if I know I did my best and that I am really happy with the way I competed.”


“We are building towards better results each race. We are getting closer, but still have lots of work to do, and are now looking forward to heading to Germany.”


Two other Canadian sleds also drove their way into the top-10. Calgary’s 24-year-old Kaillie Humphries, who won a bronze medal two weeks ago in Lake Placid, finished in sixth spot with Shelley-Ann Brown, of Pickering, Ont., with a combined time of 1:56.70 in Canada 1.


Heather Moyse, of Summerside, P.E.I., who pushed Humphries to the podium in Lake Placid, catapulted Calgary’s Amanda Stepenko to her best-ever World Cup result with a ninth-place finish. The World Cup rookie clocked a two-run time of 1:57.22 in the Canada 3 sled.


Shauna Rohbock and Michelle Rzepka, of the United States, will leave Italy with the gold medal after stopping the clock at 1:56.09. Cathleen Martini and Romy Logsch teamed up in the Germany 2 sled to win the silver medal at 1:56.43, while Sandra Kiriasis piloted Germany 1 to the final step on the podium (1:56.45) with Berit Wiacker on the brakes.


Earlier in the day, two Canadian men’s sleds hit the start line in search of their first podium finish in the two-man competition.


Two-time Olympic medallist, Pierre Lueders, was poised to strike for the podium after sitting in third spot after the opening run with David Bissett. The Edmonton duo fell back five spots after a difficult second run and were forced to settle for eighth spot with a time of 1:53.06.


Lyndon Rush, of Humboldt, Sask. and Calgary’s Lascelles Brown drove the Canada 2 sled to 13th spot at 1:53.28.


Switzerland dominated the men’s competition winning the gold and silver medals. Beat Hefti and Thomas Lamparter finished on top with a time of 1:52.37, while Ivo Rueegg and Cedric Grand were second at 1:52.59. Steven Holcomb piloted the USA 1 sled to third spot (1:52.87) with Curtis Tomasevicz pushing him.


The World Cup wraps up in Cesana on Sunday with the men’s four-man race.


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Top-Five Women’s Bobsleigh Results: Complete results at www.fibt.com

1. Shauna Rohbock/Michelle Rzepka, USA 3, 1:56.09; 2. Cathleen Martini/Romy Logsch, GER 2, 1:56.43; 3. Sandra Kiriasis/Berit Wiacker, GER 1, 1:56.45; 4. Helen Upperton, Calgary/Jenny Ciochetti, Edmonton, CAN 2, 1:56.51; 5. Erin Pac/Elana Meyers, USA 1, 1:56.58.

Other Canadian Results:

6. Kaillie Humphries, Calgary/Shelley-Ann Brown, Pickering, Ont., CAN 1, 1:56.70; 9. Amanda Stepenko, Calgary/Heather Moyse, Summerside, P.E.I., 1:57.22


Top-Five Men’s Two-Man Bobsleigh Results:

1. Beat Hefti/Thomas Lamparter, SUI 2, 1:52.37; 2. Ivo Rueegg/Cedric Grand, SUI 1, 1:52.59; 3. Steven Holcomb/Curtis Tomasevicz, USA 1, 1:52.87; 4. Alexsandr Zubkov/Alexey Voevoda, RUS 1, 1:52.89; 5. John Napier/Justin Olsen, USA 2, 1:52.90

Other Canadian Results:

8. Pierre Lueders/David Bissett, Edmonton, CAN 1, 1:53.06; 13. Lyndon Rush, Humboldt, Sask./Lascelles Brown, Calgary, CAN 2, 1:53.28