Smith equals World Cup best

Smith equals World Cup best

Madelaine Smith equalled the best World Cup result of her career as she finished eighth in the women’s skeleton in La Plagne on Friday morning.

Smith matched her efforts from Igls this time last year as she recorded her sixth top ten finish in 14 races on the sport’s premier circuit. 

The 24-year-old former sprint hurdler sat 12th at halfway before jumping up four places thanks to the eighth best time of Run 2.

Olympic bronze medallist Laura Deas was 17 hundredths of a second back from Smith in joint 11th, with Kim Murray 18th on the French track’s return to the World Cup calendar.

Russia’s Elena Nikitina took gold for the second time this season from Janine Flock and Jacqueline Loelling, although it is still Loelling who leads from Flock and now Nikitina in the overall rankings.

Marcus Wyatt finished 14th in the men’s race shortly after Smith, Deas and Murray completed their second runs in what was the first top-tier event in La Plagne since 2015.

Wyatt, who was eighth in the last two World Cup competitions, remains the top Brit in the world rankings as he occupies ninth spot at the halfway mark of the World Cup campaign.

Jerry Rice placed 20th after a mistake late in his second run cost him valuable time and a number of spots in the overall standings, while fellow Brit Craig Thompson just missed out on Run 2 by placing 21st in Run 1.

Alexander Tretiakov made it a double dose of race wins for Russia as he finished ahead of six-times World Champion Martins Dukurs and first time World Cup medallist Wenqiang Geng from China.

None of the six British athletes had been involved in World Cup competition in La Plagne previously and only Murray had competed at the track on one of the sport’s lower circuits back in 2017. They now turn their attentions to World Cup 5 in Igls, Austria on Friday of next week.

There is more skeleton action tomorrow over on the Europa Cup circuit in Igls as Amelia Coltman looks to build on yet another wider podium place after her fifth-place finish earlier today. Coltman, who won a full house of gold, silver and bronze medals in her first three races for her country prior to Christmas, remains the overall circuit leader at the halfway point of the eight-race season.

Fellow Brit Hannah Stevenson is currently fifth in the EC rankings after an eighth-place finish, with Rachel Hanagan placing 13th in today’s race to beat her last effort by three spots.

Matt Weston was the highest placed Brit in the men’s race as he came down 11th of 39 sliders at the same venue just outside Innsbruck. Benji Fulker placed 15th and Laurence Bostock 16th after they both produced significantly quicker times in Run 2 than they did in Run 1. 

Saturday also sees World Cup bobsleigh action as Mica McNeill and Montell Douglas go for GB in the women’s event at 9am GMT, with the British pair starting second in a 14-strong field in France.

Brad Hall and Greg Cackett have been handed the same starting position in the 2-man bobsleigh at 12.30pm but Lamin Deen and Tremayne Gilling have been drawn at the other end of the field as they start 18th of 22 sleds.

Race schedule

Sat 11 Jan

EC Women’s Skeleton 8am in Igls
EC Men’s Skeleton 8.30am in Igls
WC Women's Bobsleigh 9am in La Plagne
WC Men's 2-man Bobsleigh 12.30pm in La Plagne

Sun 12 Jan

WC Men's 4-man Bobsleigh 10.30am in La Plagne

You can watch all the World Cup action via the International Bobsleigh & Skeleton Federation website and on their YouTube channel.

We’ll provide updates from the rest of the races via our own social media channels and we’ll post a round up of the results once they’ve come in.