McNeill and Nicoll soar to stunning World Cup silver in Sigulda

Mica McNeill says she laid down a major Olympic marker after starting the new year in style with a history-making World Cup bobsleigh medal.

McNeill, 28, joined forces with Adele Nicoll to soar to a sensational silver in Sigulda and claim Britain’s first women’s World Cup podium for 13 years.

The result also marked McNeill’s maiden World Cup medal in 51 races as the in-form duo emulated the exploits of Brad Hall and Greg Cackett on Saturday, who also claimed silver in the men’s two-man event.

Elana Meyers Taylor piloted the American team to victory in Latvia but McNeill, a former Junior World Champion and Youth Olympic silver medallist, believes her hard-fought silver can form a perfect platform to build from ahead of Beijing 2022.

Pilot McNeill, who beat Canada’s Christine De Bruin to second by two hundredths of a second, said: “It’s an absolutely brilliant way to the start the New Year with our first ever World Cup podium finish.

“We’re still on the journey to qualifying for the Olympic Games but we’re feeling optimistic heading into next week’s race.

“We are so thankful to our team and to DHL for everything they do to support us.”

Brakewoman Nicoll, 25, who was making only her second ever World Cup start, added: “I’m so happy with today's results. Second race, second place!

“I've had such an incredible journey with team DHL McNeill so far and I'm excited for what's to come and our mission to get to the Olympic Games.”

McNeill’s previous World Cup bests were fourth-place finishes with Montell Douglas in 2019 and 2020 but she emphatically banished those podium demons on Sunday morning.

Accompanied by Nicoll, the pair capitalised on Nadezhda Sergeeva’s crash in the Russian sled to climb up from third after the first run and finish 0.22s behind Taylor’s USA.

It marked Britain’s first medal in women’s World Cup bobsleigh since Nicola Minichiello and Gillian Cooke took back-to-back bronze in St Moritz in January 2009 – and also represented the first silver since the same pair finished second in Konigssee earlier that month.

The British duo will now turn their attention to the next World Cup events in Winterburg and St Moritz and Welsh ace Nicoll, who is also a talented shot putter, added: “I’m just so happy that I could help Mica get such a good result.

“I feel so confident sliding behind her and I’m glad to have given her the start she needed to get onto the podium.

“Massive thanks to DHL for making it all possible.”