Lugers set for European Championships in Sigulda as Sochi 2014 draws closer
Tuesday, 21 January 2014
January 22 - Top lugers are set to do battle on the artificial track in Sigulda, Latvia, which hosts the International Luge Federation (FIL) European Championships this weekend.
The 45th European Championships will also run alongside the final event of the Viessmann Luge World Cup series in what the FIL describes as a "race-in-race competition".
Two different results sheets will be used for the men's and women's singles and doubles events; one for the Viessman Luge World Cup and the other to rank the highest placed athletes eligible for the European Championships, which will be held in Sigulda for the third time following on from 1996 and 2010.
Prior to the start of competition, each national federation will nominate four doubles teams whose results will count in both the World Cup and European Championship standings.
In the singles events, three women will be nominated for both events while the men's will see five athletes taking part in the World Cup events, but only four from each federation will count towards the European Championship standings.
Natalie Geisenberger, Felix Loch and Tobias Wendl-Tobias Arlt have already secured 2014 World Cup titles and they are part of the German Winter Olympic squad that will not be attending the Championships in Sigulda.
Norbert Loch has instead decided that preparations for Sochi 2014 will be better served by putting the 10-strong squad through an intensive training camp.
That leaves Aileen Frisch and 2013 World Championship bronze medallist Johannes Ludwig to head up the German team in Sigulda.
Frisch will be up against two-time European champion Tatiana Ivanova of Russia in the women's singles, who is the favourite to claim a third title, with Vancouver 2010 silver medal winner Nina Reithmayer also a leading contender.
Double Olympic gold medallist Armin Zöggeler of Italy and Russia's 2010 world champion Albert Demchenko look set to be the men battling it out for singles glory while Austrian trio Wolfgang Kindl, Reinhard Egger and Daniel Pfister are expected to put up a good showing.
The men's doubles could be the stand-out event of the Championships.
Three-time world champions Andreas and Wolfgang Linger of Austria will be up against 2013 bronze medal winners and compatriots Peter Penz and Georg Fischler, while Olympic silver medallists Andris and Juris Sics will be hoping to delight fans with a home win for Latvia.
Competition in Sigulda is due to run from Friday (January 24) until January 26.