WINTERBERG, Germany - Calgary's Alex Gough led five Canadian sleds into the top-15, and three in the top-10, in women's singles and doubles luge action at the World Cup on Sunday.
The 25-year-old was poised to head into the World Championships on her home track in Whistler with a podium finish while sitting in third after the opening run. However, a costly mistake in her second trip down the Winterberg track bumped her into sixth spot with a combined time of 1:53.210.
"We are in the mix, but we just cannot afford to make mistakes," said Wolfgang Staudinger, head coach of the Canadian luge team. "I think we had a pretty solid day by all of our girls. Kim McRae particularly had a good day and demonstrated a lot of potential."
McRae, from Calgary, had one of her best World Cup results, finishing ninth at 1:54.069. Two other Calgarians, Arianne Jones and Dayna Clay, rounded out the Canadian contingent in the top-15. Jones was 11th at 1:54.263, while Clay matched her personal best week in Germany placing 13th (1:54.487).
Germany swept the women's podium as the World Cup completes five straight weeks on Germany tracks. Natalie Geisenberger was first at 1:52.916. Anke Wischnewski finished second with a time of 1:52.936, while Tatjana Hufner grabbed the bronze at 1:53.002.
Canada's Tristan Walker and Justin Snith were back in action in men's doubles racing. Walker, of Cochrane, Alta., and Calgary's Snith finished ninth at 1:27.535.
Austria's Andreas and Wolfgang Linger won the doubles race with a time of 1:26.938. Germany's Toni Eggert and Sascha Benecker were second at 1:26.907, while Italy's Christian Oberstolz and Patrick Gruber slid to the bronze at 1:27.099.
The top luge athletes in the world will now head to Whistler, B.C. as Canada readies itself to host the 2013 World Championships, Feb. 1-2 on the 2010 Olympic Track.
"We are in good shape heading into the Worlds, but it is going to be any other race for us," said Staudinger. "If we do our job, don't get ahead ourselves and be consistent, we can do well. Anything is possible."