Andre Lange, two-hundredths of a second behind Pierre Lueders after the first heat yesterday in Lake Placid, N.Y., rallied on the second run in Germany-2 and opened a stunning .24-second lead over the Canadian World Cup champion midway through the two-man competition in the bobsled world championships.
Lange finished with an aggregate time of 1 minute 50.26 seconds; Lueders was at 1:50.50. Rene Spies was third in Germany-1, .03 behind, and Todd Hays was fourth in USA-1 in 1:50.59.
Lueders, who shared the two-man gold at the 1998 Nagano Olympics, is the only bobsledder to win the two-man World Cup title five times. But he has never won gold at the world championships, finishing second at Winterberg in 1995 and second the next year at Calgary on his home track.
"I'm not happy with our start," said the 29-year-old Lange, who won the four-man gold a year ago at the Salt Lake City Olympics. "The second run was a big difference. I'm very happy. That's why we're leading."
* FIGURE SKATING: In Beijing, Japan's Takeshi Honda completed three flawless quadruple jumps in his free skate to win the overall men's title at the Four Continents Championships.
Honda earned perfect scores of 6.0 from five judges for both technical merit and presentation to move up from second after the short program. China's Zhang Min finished second and his compatriot, Li Chengjiang, the leader after the short program, was third.
"I landed three quads in one program for the first time. . . . I received 6.0s for the first time," said Honda, the Asian Winter Games champion. "It was just the best I've ever skated in my life."
* CROSS-COUNTRY: In Asiago, Italy, Norway's Bente Skari won the five-kilometer classical style race for her 37th career World Cup victory.
Olympic champion Andrus Veerpalu, a classical style specialist, picked up his first World Cup victory, winning the 10-kilometer race in 24:21.3.
* BIATHLON: In Oslo, Vladimir Dratchev of Belarus won the men's sprint and Sandrine Bailly of France won the women's event for her first World Cup victory.
Dratchev won the 10-kilometer race in 24:01.1, 48 seconds ahead of Russia's Pavel Rostovtsev. Germany's Sven Fischer had one miss and was 51.8 seconds back. Bailly covered the women's 7.5-kilometer sprint in 21:27.7.
Four-time Olympic champion Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway finished seventh in front of his home fans at Holmenkollen, the most famous venue in Nordic skiing. The Norwegian maintained his overall World Cup lead with 556 points, 60 more than France's Raphael Poiree.
* SPEEDSKATNG: Jochem Uytdehaage led a Dutch sweep of the top three spots in the 5,000-meter race at a World Cup event in Baselga Di Pin, Italy.
Uytdehaage won in 6:39.93. Bob de Jong was second in 6:41.82 and Carl Verhejen was third in 6:42.39. American Derek Parra finished 10th, 16 seconds off the pace.
Germany's Anni Friesinger beat Canada's Cindy Klassen and American Jennifer Rodriguez in the women's 1,500. Friesinger finished in 2:01.35, well ahead of Klassen's 2:02.70. Rodriguez was third in 2:02.84.