Path to PyeongChang: 60 days to go
Winter Sports

Path to PyeongChang: 60 days to go

11 December 2017 / 14:35

With less than two months to go until the eyes of the winter world focus on South Korea, Britain’s athletes have once again been busy on snow and ice.

With slalom, bobsleigh, skeleton, cross-country and moguls all having World Cup events over the weekend, riders and sliders alike have been fine-tuning techniques in the countdown to PyeongChang 2018.

Deen in the top ten again

After a silver medal last time out in Whistler, Lamin Deen piloted his crew to another top ten as the World Cup landed in Europe this weekend.

Three rounds in North America left Deen riding high in the overall World Cup standings after a trio of top ten placings, and he followed that up with ninth in Winterberg, Germany, in snowy conditions.

Pushed by Toby Olubi, Andrew Matthews and Ben Simons, Deen was ninth fastest in the first run and tenth in the second, but did enough to remain in ninth overall.

That result kept him in fourth place in the World Cup standings, with Brad Hall in 12th after he came home 13th in Germany.

The two-man competition saw Hall finish 24th in Winterberg, with Bruce Tasker one place behind, while Mica McNeill guided Mica Moore to 20th in the two-woman event – which saw them slip to ninth in the overall World Cup. 

Ryding struggles in the snow

Dave Ryding battled the elements as he finished 19th in the second World Cup slalom race of the season.

With heavy snow falling throughout the event in Val d’Isere, Ryding – who made history with a World Cup podium in Kitzbuhel last season – finished 15th in the first run, but dropped down to 19th after a slower second effort.

That sees him 26th in the in the overall standings after failing to finish, when leading, last time out in Finland.

“I know it was the same for everybody,” he said. “But I just couldn’t see, there was so much snow coming off the poles.

“I really struggled with the visibility and I couldn’t ski the way I wanted to ski.”

Snow causes skeleton havoc

With heavy snow falling, the men’s skeleton event in Winterberg was cut short after just one run – but fortunately the women escaped the worst of the weather and got in a second.

Laura Deas recorded a third top ten finish of the season, this time in seventh, to maintain her sixth place in the overall World Cup standings, while Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold remains tenth after her 13th place finish in Germany.

Youngster Ashleigh Pittaway, only 17, just missed out on a second run as she finished 21st for a third time this season.

The shortened men’s event saw Dom Parsons record a first top ten of the season as he finished tenth, with Jerry Rice 29th and Jack Thomas 33rd.

Musgrave continues to make his mark

In the cross-country World Cup, Andrew Musgrave’s form continues to improve after he recorded a 16th place finish in the 15km free event.

The 27-year-old had finished 38th in the 1.5km sprint event earlier in the weekend, but showed his form in his preferred distance event.

“I started off a bit hard and paid the price on the last lap. I am a bit disappointed with 16th place, but have another couple of distance races coming up to make up for it,” said Musgrave.

And he was not the only Brit racing in Davos, Switzerland, with namesake Andrew Young recording 43rd and 67th place finishes in the sprint and 15km races respectively.

Max makes moguls comeback

Three years since his last World Cup outing on the moguls, Max Willis returned in the first event of the season with a qualifying score of 70.39 – enough for 25th place.

Fellow Brit Thomas Gerken-Schofield finished 44th while sister Makayla Gerken-Schofield finished 32nd in the women’s event.

The week ahead

The ski and snowboard cross seasons kick into gear this week as Zoe Gillings-Brier and Maisie Potter race in Val Thorens, France, on Wednesday.

But the boarders have it easy compared to the skiers, with Emily Sarsfield, Pamela Thorburn, Liz Stevenson and Emma Peters facing two rounds of World Cup action in a week.

After racing in Arosa, Switzerland, on Tuesday, the skiers then travel to Austria for more action in Montafon later in the week.

Musgrave will also be in action, as the cross-country World Cup moves to Toblach, Italy, while Lloyd Wallace could be back on the World Cup aerials scene as he steps up his injury comeback in Secret Garden, China.

The bobsleigh and skeleton World Cups continue apace too, with the latest round taking sliders to Innsbruck, Austria.

While away from the World Cup circuit, Britain’s freestyle skiers will be in action on the Dew Tour in Breckenridge, USA.

James Woods and Izzy Atkin will be competing in the slopestyle, while Rowan Cheshire, Madi Rowlands and Murray Buchan take on the halfpipe.

Sportsbeat 2017

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