Noelle Pikus-Pace

Noelle Pikus-Pace wins skeleton World Cup in Lake Placid

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Noelle Pikus-Pace was untouchable again, cruising to victory in a World Cup skeleton race in Lake Placid, N.Y., on Friday.

The American won in a two-run time of 1 minute, 51.37 seconds, beating Germany’s Anja Huber by .46 of a second. Great Britain’s Lizzy Yarnold was third. American Katie Uhlaender was 14th.

“In training, I was not doing so hot, so I just took a day off yesterday to really just kind of visualize what I needed to do,” Pikus-Pace said. “I’ve been down this track a lot, so just being able to put it together once piece at a time. It came together today, so I’m really happy with it.”

Pikus-Pace, 31, was also the fastest woman in the previous two races this season in Calgary, Alberta, and Park City, Utah. She was disqualified after winning in Calgary for illegal tape on her sled. She came back in Park City to break the track record — twice — and win by a dominant .68 of a second.

She is the 2007 world champion who finished fourth at the 2010 Olympics and second at the World Championships in February. She briefly retired after the Olympics and had a baby boy.

The last woman to win three straight World Cup races was Uhlaender, who won the first four to start the 2006-07 season.

Uhlaender, recovering from a preseason concussion, hasn’t finished better than 13th in three World Cups. She won the 2012 world title and was third in the World Cup standings last season.

A second women’s skeleton race will go in Lake Placid on Sunday. Universal Sports will have coverage.

Lake Placid Skeleton Race 1
1. Noelle Pikus-Pace (USA) 1:51.37
2. Anja Huber (GER) 1:51.83
3. Lizzy Yarnold (GBR) 1:51.88
14. Katie Uhlaender (USA) 1:52.79

Holcomb stays perfect in Lake Placid

Germans dominate women’s skeleton at world championships

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Germans Jacqueline Loelling and Tina Hermann went one-two at the skeleton world championships at home in Koenigssee on Saturday.

Loelling, 22, prevailed by one-quarter of a second after three runs over the 2016 World champion Hermann. Lizzy Yarnold, the Sochi Olympic champion from Great Britain, was .73 back for bronze.

“I didn’t expect to win, though I had perhaps hoped a little bit,” Loelling said, according to the International Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.

The top American was Kendall Wesenberg in 13th. Full results are here.

Loelling and Hermann, 24, represent the new generation of German sliders, both seeking to become the first Olympic skeleton champion from the sliding sports power.

Hermann swept the World Cup and world championships titles last season, and Loelling can clinch this season’s double at the World Cup finale at the 2018 Olympic track in three weeks.

Yarnold, who returned this season after a one-year break, said Saturday she had head and back issues and that she couldn’t walk three weeks ago.

The world bobsled and skeleton championships conclude with the final two runs of four-man bobsled and men’s skeleton on Sunday.

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MORE: Elana Meyers Taylor drives to second world bobsled title

Lindsey Vonn crashes out of World Cup super-G (video); out Sunday

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Lindsey Vonn crashed out of a World Cup super-G on Saturday, one day after refusing to start a race due to dangerous course conditions at the same venue.

Vonn fell trying to make a right turn about 17 seconds into her run, sliding into netting with her arms raised above her head in Crans-Montana, Switzerland. Vonn came back last month after breaking her right upper arm in a Nov. 10 training crash, the latest in a career filled with injuries.

Vonn lay motionless for several seconds but soon after skied on her own to the bottom of the course. She “was visibly upset and appeared to be crying as she was comforted by teammate Julia Mancuso” in the finish area, according to The Associated Press.

In four super-Gs since her comeback, Vonn has finished ninth and 12th and failed to finish twice.

Slovenia’s world downhill champion Ilka Stuhec won the race by a half-second over Italian Elena Curtoni. Austrian Stephanie Venier was third.

Mikaela Shiffrin was 13th in her fifth career World Cup super-G start, 2.11 seconds behind Stuhec. Full results are here.

“I just didn’t quite handle the peely snow as well as I could have, and I was a bit conservative in sections that I didn’t want to be,” Shiffrin said, according to the U.S. Ski Team. “But I’m happy to get a run in on this hill.

“I feel really good on my skis. I didn’t feel like that run showed it. But I also felt like I had some reservations after seeing how it was [Friday], and I really wanted to ski the whole course and make it down and try to put a time in there. But I wasn’t totally sure how it was going to run. So having a run under my belt is really nice.”

Six of the first 18 racers failed to finish, including a crash by Italian Sofia Goggia, who ranks fourth in the World Cup overall standings. After 20 starters, the race was delayed for about five minutes to treat the deteriorating course, according to Eurosport.

Mancuso, who hasn’t raced since March 2015, was a forerunner for a second straight day.

On Friday, Vonn and Shiffrin criticized race officials (and refused to race) for allowing a super combined to take place on dangerous snow conditions, specifically the bottom pitch, U.S. head coach Paul Kristofic said.

Vonn then spent Friday afternoon throwing up due to possible food poisoning, according to her social media.

The women race another super combined in Crans-Montana on Sunday (4:30 a.m. ET, NBCSports.com/live and the NBC Sports app).

Vonn is not entered, choosing to skip it due to the crash and her stomach ailment. She is expected to return for World Cup races next weekend at the 2018 Olympic venue.

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