In the sum of two races, the fastest was Floka, who remained unbeaten in both races. The athlete managed to set a new track record in both races. The result was 51.47 seconds in the first race and 51.46 seconds in the second race.
The regular performance of the flock also shows regularities. Namely, the athlete’s partner is Matīss Gūgenbergers, under whose supervision Latvia’s leading skeletonists brothers Martins and Thomas Dukuri have been training since last summer. Floka had already arrived in Latvia in October and since then has been regularly training in Sigulda.
Steel started 14th in the second race, but finished 11th. In the second race, his leader lost less than a second, but in the sum of two races he was 1.61 seconds short.
The second place was won by Russian athlete Yelena Nikitina, who lost 0.65 seconds in the sum of two races, while the third place was shared by the Dutch Cyberley Boss and the German Tina Herman, who lost 0.80 seconds to the winner.
In the fifth place was the representative of Great Britain Laura Dīsa, but the sixth place was closed by Kim Mejlemane from Belgium.
The fastest in the first race was the Austrian Floka, who in the middle and lower part of the track regained the time lost at the expense of the start, finishing with a new track record – 51.47 seconds.
Steel showed the 13th best result in the first race, but finished in tenth position, losing 0.80 seconds to the leader.
Second behind Flock was Russian athlete Nikitin, who was 0.31 seconds behind, but Boss from the Netherlands was another 0.1 second slower. Nikitina would probably have shown the best result, but this was prevented by mistakes made at the bottom of the track.
Russian athletes were not allowed to participate in Sigulda on the last day of training, because the team had previously violated the Covid-19 rule and went to Riga to shop. Later, the road to Riga was also covered on the social network “Instagram”, as a result of which the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) ordered the team athletes to perform repeated Covid-19 tests, but then had to spend two days in quarantine.
A total of 18 athletes participated in the women’s competition.
In Friday’s race, most of the athletes managed to improve on the results achieved last week, which means that the Sigulda track in the second stage of the World Cup has become faster.
At 15 and 16.45, men’s athletes, including brothers Martin and Thomas Dukuri, will also take part in the track.
It has already been reported that a week ago, Steel, making his debut in the World Cup, took care of Latvia’s first podium in the skeleton for women. The winners were the Austrian Janina Flock, but the second was the Dutch Kimberley Boss.
Steel last season was the leading domestic skeletonist and she has a preference to use one of the quotas allocated to Latvia, but it is not excluded that Dārta Zunte will start in one of the next World Cups. Steel won two stages of the European Cup in the 2019/2021 season and won sixth place in the World Junior Championship.
Although the stages in Sigulda are not well represented, three of last year’s leading skeletonists take part in them – World Cup winner Jacqueline Leling (Germany), world champion Tina Herman (Germany) and European champion Jelena Nikitina (Russia).
The World Cup stage in Sigulda also took place in February 2004, with competitions in women’s bobsleigh and skeleton. The victory in the men’s competition was celebrated by Thomas Dukurs at that time, who also had the only gold medal in the World Cup stages.
Since 2006, the International Federation of Bobsleigh and Skeletons has been organizing the World Cup stages together, dividing five sets of medals in one stage – in the skeleton for ladies and gentlemen, in bobsleigh for men in doubles and fours, and for bobsleighers in doubles.
However, the Sigulda track is currently not suitable for bobsleigh quad competitions, so there are two men’s doubles competitions in Latvia.
The next two stages will take place in Innsbruck, but one stage is planned in Winterberg after the new year. Stages will continue in St. Moritz and Königssee, but the end of the season is scheduled for mid-March on the Yanchin track, where the 2022 Beijing Olympics will take place. However, the progress of this stage is still under question.
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