Friedrich leads Kripps at halfway stage of bobsled worlds

KOENIGSSEE, Germany (AP) Germany's Francesco Friedrich was fastest in both runs to lead Justin Kripps of Canada at the halfway stage of the two-man bobsled world championships on Saturday.

Defending champion Friedrich and his brakeman Thorsten Margis clocked 49.15 seconds in the first heat and then 49.45 for a combined time of 1 minute, 38.60 seconds - 0.52 ahead of Kripps and Jesse Lumsden.

Johannes Lochner of Germany is 0.63 back in third with Joshua Bluhm, ahead of Canada's Nick Poloniato and Neville Wright.

American pilot Steven Holcomb is seventh, 0.87 off the pace.

Friedrich is bidding for his fourth successive gold. The title will be decided Sunday.

The women's bobsled title will be decided later Saturday with Elana Meyers Taylor of the U.S. holding a 0.02-second lead over Canada's Kaillie Humphries.