Lueders leading

IAN BUSBY -- Calgary Sun

, Last Updated: 1:55 PM ET

The Pierre Lueders Fan Club didn't travel all the way from Germany to be let down. But the Calgary bobsledder did make their hearts -- and those of his hometown fans -- skip a beat or two last night.

After a lacklustre first run that placed him fifth in the world bobsled championships at Canada Olympic Park, Lueders used a great start from brakeman Lascelles Brown to overtake the lead in the second heat.

The final two two-man heats start tonight at COP (6 p.m.). Lueders' second run of 54.78 second was a hundredth off his first but, with the drop in temperature, he was much faster than his competitors.

His two-run combined time of one minute 49.55 seconds was five hundredths better than Ivo Rueegg of Switzerland. Andre Lange of Germany is in third, eight hundredths off the pace.

"With the weather change, I gambled a little bit," Lueders said. "You can't change runners and it may have been a little warm for them on the first one.

"That's the chances you take. I had two sets prepared and I chose the one that worked."

The Fan Club, a group of about nine Germans who follow Lueders, blew a police siren as he crossed the finish and vigorously cheered as the next four sleds failed to knock Canada 1 out of the leader's circle.

Lueders was quite disappointed with such a slow first run, taking Corners 3, 6 and 9 a little rough, although in the four-heat race it won't hurt him too much.

He's in a good position to repeat as world champion in the two-man if he can avoid the bumpiness of the first run.

"I have to make sure I don't make any silly mistakes like I did on the first one," Lueders said.

"I'm actually happy I got that one out of the way."

Having so many people cheering at both the start and finish put a big smile on Lueders' face.

"I'm really enjoying the race," Lueders said.

"It's nice having family and friends here. They don't get to see us a lot."

Okotoks pilot Jayson Krause and brakeman Florian Linder, who are both battling back injuries, slid to 12th spot in 1:50.35.

The duo's start time was well off their usual bests on their home track.

"It's been a really tough week for Florian and myself," Krause said.

"Our bodies are breaking down a bit. We're trying to stay healthy enough to compete.

"It shows at the start."


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