In their season debut, pilot Christine de Bruin and Sara Villani placed fifth in a women’s World Cup bobsled race ahead of former Canadian teammate Kaillie Humphries on Saturday in Winterberg, Germany.
De Bruin and Villani posted a two-run time of one minute 54.43 seconds. De Bruin’s previous best finish in Winterberg was seventh.
Germany’s Laura Nolte drove to the win in 1:53.60 while reigning world champion Humphries and three-time Olympic medallist Elana Meyers Taylor made their season debuts for the U.S.
Kim Kalicki and Ann-Christin Strack of Germany were second (1:54.02) and Austria’s Katrin Beierl and Jennifer Onasanya tied for third (1:54.39) with Germany’s Mariama Jamanka and Leonie Fiebig.
Humphres and Sylvia Hoffman were sixth for the U.S., one spot ahead of Meyers Taylor and Lolo Jones.
WATCH | Christine de Bruin/Sara Villani open season in Germany:
The U.S. had not competed in any World Cup bobsled or skeleton races this season before this weekend, sitting out the first half of the schedule because of the coronavirus pandemic and concerns about safety and international travel.
Germany also swept gold and silver in the two-man bobsled race Saturday, with Francesco Friedrich and Thorsten Margis getting the win over Johannes Lochner and Eric Franke. Austria was third with Benjamin Maier and Markus Sammer.
Justin Kripps of Summerland, B.C. and Cam Stones of Whitby, Ont., were fifth.
“I thought it was a good start today. I tried some new things this week on the track as I haven’t had much success here in the past.” Kripps, 34, told Bobsleigh Canada Skeleton. “Some of it went well and I think I’m on the right track, but I made some mistakes as well, so we didn’t get a big result.
“We had good starts and decent drives and we tied our best result here in Winterberg so, overall, it was a great return to the World Cup for us. We’re just so happy to be able to be racing during these challenging times. We’re looking forward to a good day in the four-man tomorrow.”
The top U.S. two-man sled placed 14th, with Codie Bascue driving and Carlo Valdes pushing in their season debuts.
The four-man bobsled race in Winterberg is Sunday.