Brilliant best for Wyatt

Brilliant best for Wyatt

Marcus Wyatt produced his best-ever World Cup showing as he finished eighth in Altenberg on Friday, while fellow Brit Laura Deas matched that result in the women’s race.

Wyatt, who made his top-level bow in Igls last season, beat his previous best of 10th with a superb effort on one of the sport’s trickiest tracks in the east of Germany.

The 26-year-old clocked a combined time of 1 minute 56.60 seconds to finish narrowly behind one of skeleton’s greatest-ever sliders, Martins Dukurs, in the third World Cup race of the season and the first of 2019.

Start times of 5 seconds flat and 5.02 set the platform for Wyatt’s personal best, with only race winner Alexander Tretiakov quicker in either run.

The result sees Wyatt move up to seventh in the overall World Cup rankings ahead of next week’s European Championships in Konigssee.

Jerry Rice, who competed for Team GB in last year’s Winter Olympics, finished 19th in a time of 1.59.07. Rice was 20th at halfway but jumped up a position second time around.

Jack Thomas missed out on Run 2 by a single spot as he finished just behind Rice in 21st after clocking 59.46 seconds in Run 1.

A second successive win for Tretiakov sees him take the outright lead in the World Cup standings from compatriot Nikita Tregubov, who took bronze today. South Korea’s Olympic Champion, Sungbin Yun, finished second, more than half a second behind the race winner.

In the women’s race, Olympic bronze medallist Deas followed up her seventh-place showing in her first World Cup appearance of the season in Winterberg in mid-December with a similar effort in Altenberg.

With snow falling heavily from midway through the order, conditions were particularly tough by the time she and fellow Brit Madelaine Smith took to the ice 14th and 15th respectively in Run 1.

Deas began well with the fourth fastest start of the 20 sliders (5.53 seconds) but she lost time in the second half of the run to finish in 59.71 - 1.12 seconds behind race winner Elena Nikitina, who was sixth of the 20 sliders off the top.

Sitting eighth at halfway, the 30-year-old was unable to make ground on those above her as she clocked a time of 1.00.18 second time around.

Smith, who had never previously raced in Altenberg, sat 16th after Run 1, having finished in 1.00.56 from a 5.69 start, but she slipped down the order in Run 2 as a time of 1.00.86 left her 18th overall.

Team-mate Kim Murray did move up the standings in Run 2, though, as she leapfrogged Smith to finish in 17th spot. The former long jumper was 18th in 1.00.75 after the first run but she improved significantly second time around as she posted a 1.00.30 effort for the 15th quickest time of the heat.

Last year’s overall World Cup winner and Olympic silver medallist, Jacqueline Loelling, took silver behind Nikitina, with the Russian’s team-mate, Yulia Kanakina, claiming bronze.

The next instalment of skeleton World Cup competition takes place a week today but there is bobsleigh action in Altenberg this Saturday and Sunday.