One weekend, four races, and five new track records - Thank you Sigulda.
The final races of the Sigulda leg of the World Cup have been completed and the athlete certainly delivered, breaking five track records over the weekend.
World Cup Sigulda: Race 2 - Women’s Skeleton
Kicking off this week's races were the Women’s Skeleton, and we were all waiting to see who would catch Janine Flock from Austria after her impressive track record from last week's Race 1. Fate had a different plan though, with Janine throwing down two new track records, 51.47 and 51.46 respectively, to hold off the reigning European Champion Elena Nikitina of Russia who came in second place, 0.65 seconds behind.
The fight for Third place could not have been more exciting with the reigning World Champion Tina Hermann of Germany and Kimberley Bos from Holland tying, both 0.80 seconds behind Janine. Another noteworthy finish was the 2016 Youth Olympic Champion, Ashleigh Fay Pittaway from Great Britain, who achieved her highest World Cup result to date, finishing in 8th Place.
World Cup Sigulda: Race 2 - Men’s Skeleton
Bobsleigh & Skeleton Australia posted a race preview on Instagram about this race, as we predicted the Dukurs brother fighting this one out after some impressive training times. That prediction seemed to be more of a premonition as Tomass Dukurs was only 0.09 seconds behind his brother Martins Dukurs after the first heat. In the second heat, Thomas equalled his time for his first run of 49.55 seconds, whilst Martins pulled further away by another tenth of a second… setting yet another track record, 49.45 seconds.
The race between the Dukurs brothers and their first and second finish, is even sweeter as their father, Dainis Dukurs, retired as the Track Director of the Sigulda track. A fitting send off for such a long contribution to Latvian sliding sports.
One of the more exciting results was British slider Marcus Wyatt. After an impressive 6th place after heat one, Marcus moved up three places with the third fastest second heat, finishing in 3rd place, a career high result.
World Cup Sigulda: Race 2 - Women’s Bobsleigh
The second 2-woman Bobsleigh race was dominated by Team Germany, however you could not have written a closer story of the finish. In the first heat, the Austrian combination of Katrin Beierl and Jennifer Jantina Oluumi Desire Onasanya, led the German duo of Kim Kalicki and Ann-Christin Strack by a mere hundredth of a second, leaving them in third and fourth respectively. The fastest runs of the heat was produced by Olympic Champion Mariama Jamanka with her brakewomen Vanessa Mark, and 2016 Olympic Youth Champion Laura Nolte and Leonie Fiebig, leaving them in 2nd and 1st place, split by only 0.02 seconds.
The second heat was a different story as all three German sleds pulled away from the rest of the field, finishing 1, 2, and 3. The race didn’t end there however, as Kim and Ann-Christin produced the second fastest run of the final heat, leaving them tied for second place overall with teammates Katrin and Jennifer, both finishing the race with a time of 1:42.61. Once again Laura Nolte took the win by 0.24 seconds. The 22-year old has competed in only seven World Cup events, producing two victories, and three podiums, an impressive start to her World Cup career.
World Cup Sigulda: Race 3 & 4 - 2 Man Bobsleigh
For the big guys on tour, the current Olympic Champion, World Champion and World Cup Crystal Globe Champion, Francesco Friedrich of Germany built on his domination of the 2-Man Bobsleigh World Cup tour. Francesco remained undefeated in all four 2-Man World Cup races over the two week stint at Sigulda, could not have painted a more perfect picture of the start to a season.
Despite Francesco's impressive run, it wouldn't be without threat. In Race 3, Oskars Kibermanis and Matiss Miknis, of Latvia, held the lead after the first heat, by 0.02 seconds. However the German team produced a clean run in heat two, of 49.31, to overtake the Latvians for the Gold medal. The German Team were their consistent selves in Race 4, clocking 120km/hr on both runs and achieving identical final three splits in both heats, finally winning the event by 0.44 seconds.
See you in Innsbruck, Austria
The next stop on the World Cup Tour runs from December 11 - 13 in Innsbruck, Austria, where our Australian Women’s Bobsleigh and Mono Bob Teams will look to kick off their World Cup campaign. Check out our Australian Athlete profiles Bree Walker, Sarah Blizzard, and Stefanie Preiksa.