By Michael Pavitt

Wolfgang Kindl won Austria's first World Cup title since 2002 ©FILWolfgang Kindl ended a 12-year drought for Austria as he slid to victory at the International Luge Federation (FIL) World Cup in Lillehammer, while the overall leader, Germany's Felix Loch, could only finish after eighth complaining of dizziness. 

Kindl had claimed a second place finish earlier in the World Cup season at Lake Placid, but went one step further as the Austrian posted 49.380sec in his first run on the 1994 Olympic track, which proved the be the fastest time of the competition.

The 26-year-old was able to back up that initial performance by putting down a second run of 49.438, giving him a combined time of 1min 38.818sec, which was enough to earn World Cup victory, ahead of Russian Semen Pavlichenko, who clocked 1:38.872.

"It's unbelievable, I just can't take it in," said Kindl, a world junior champion in 2008.

"It's a long time since an Austrian was at the top in a men's World Cup.

"This was my day, everything went right.

"And I was just sitting on a fantastic sled."

Klindl's victory was the first for Austria since Markus Klienheinz won in Altenberg, Germany, in December 2002.

Germany's Olympic champions have already won the team relay World Cup title, after five straight victories ©FILGermany's Olympic champions have already won the team relay World Cup title, after five straight victories ©FIL

Dominik Fischnaller of Italy secured the World Cup bronze behind Pavlichenko, but Loch was the focus of many spectators' attention, as the two-time Olympic champion complained of dizziness and considered withdrawing from the competition.

The German, however, took the decision to compete and despite finishing in eighth place maintains his lead in the World Cup with two races remaining, the final race taking place in Sochi, where Loch took his second Olympic crown in 2014.

Loch, though, was part of a German quartet that included Dajana Eitberger, Tobias Wendl and Tobias Arlt, which secured its fifth luge team relay victory in a row, meaning the 2014 Olympic champions have already earned the World Cup title.

Pavlichenko's Russian team were runners-up to the Germans, while Kindl's Austrian team were third.

Germany's prospects at the FIL World Championships, due to take place in Sigulda, Latvia, from February 14 to 15, look extremely promising, with Loch and Natalie Geisenberger dominating the men and women's World Cups, whilst the relay team look in unbeatable form.

The FIL World Cup action is scheduled to resume after the World Championships, in Altenberg from February 21 to 22.

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