Yarnold adds silver and young bobbers gain experience

13 January 2015

Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold now has a gold and silver medal to her name in the 2014/15 FIBT Skeleton World Cup series after finishing runner-up in Altenberg, Germany, on Friday.

Yarnold – who trains with British Skeleton whose national base is at the University of Bath – was just four-hundredths of a second slower than Russian rival Maria Orlova after two runs down the German track.

It means the 26-year-old has finished on the podium in ten of her last 12 World Cup races – although it was the first time she had ever won a medal at Altenberg.

“I’m pretty chuffed,” said Yarnold, who missed the previous World Cup in Calgary after suffering dizziness while winning gold at the opening race of 2014/15 in Lake Placid. “I’ve raced here five times and never got on the podium, so that was the aim.”

British team-mate Laura Deas, who won her debut world cup medal –  a silver – in Calgary, set a new start record of 5.41secs in Altenberg but finished tenth overall after a bizarre incident on her second run.

The 25-year-old had just exited the 12th corner at 106kmh when a paper fan, dropped onto the ice by a spectator, became lodged under her sled and slowed her down.

Deas turned down the option of requesting a re-run, though, saying: “I debated taking the run again but decided to let it stand as there are so many variables in this sport which could not guarantee maintaining my tenth spot.

“I am really pleased to be in the top ten, seeing as Altenberg is such a tough track, and this result gives me more confidence moving forward in the season.”

Rose McGrandle completed another excellent day for British Skeleton when she placed eighth overall after two consistent runs.

The men’s duo of Dominic Parsons and Ed Smith were faced with some of the most difficult racing conditions so far this season when they took to the Altenberg track on Saturday, with heavy pre-race rain turning to frost in some places.

They finished 11th and 17th respectively in a 28-strong field, with Olympian and University of Bath postgraduate student Parsons narrowly being nudged out of the top ten by Germany’s Killian von Schleinitz.

British Bobsleigh was represented in the two-man competitions at Altenberg over the weekend, with the youthful duo of Mica McNeill and Aleasha Kiddle finishing 12th out of 13 in the women’s race with a time of 1min 57.54secs after two runs.

Oliver Biddulph and Jordan Smallin also gained valuable experience in the men’s competition, although their time of 1:00.41 was not quick enough to qualify for a second run.

The FIBT World Cup action stays in Germany this week but moves to Konigssee.

It will be too soon for British Bobsleigh number one driver John Jackson to return to action in the four-man competition but he is back training on the ice after missing the start of the season with a stress response to the ruptured Achilles which almost kept him out of the Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics.

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