12 January 2015 / 10:46

British Skeleton head coach Eric Bernotas insisted his sliders could hold their heads high after finishing with a silver and two other top-ten finishes in tricky conditions in Altenberg.

The women enjoyed the better of the weather on Friday with Olympic champion Lizzy Yarnold marking her return to World Cup action with a second-place finish behind Maria Orlova of Russia.

The 26-year-old had missed the second World Cup of the season on medical grounds after suffering from dizziness on the way to gold in Calgary but stormed straight back onto the podium for her first ever medal at Altenberg.

There was further success for the women’s team with Rose McGrandle finishing eighth and Laura Deas tenth – the latter seeing her second run disrupted by a spectator’s paper fan which had dropped onto the track.

Action then turned to the men’s competition on Saturday as the notoriously difficult Altenberg track was made more difficult still by warmer weather conditions.

Dom Parsons was the highest of the British finishers in 11th while Ed Smith was 17th with Bernotas reflecting on a solid effort from his team.

“I am very pleased with the team work strategy through the week and the exceptional women’s results. All in the top-10, building a foundation and momentum moving forward,” he said.

“Laura Deas had a bit of an unfortunate obstacle in the second run, was offered a third, however, considering multiple variables, the decision was made to leave the second heat result as it stood and take the contributing positives as strong success.

“The men's results may not be on par with what we can do, nonetheless, there were some strong positives to take from the day and we will continue to build off these and also continue to identify and adjust any limitations that need to be addressed.”

Staying with the winter theme, British cross county skier Andrew Musgrave made history on Thursday as the fastest skier in the 25km freestyle pursuit stage of the Tour de Ski in Toblach, Italy.

Musgrave crossed the line in 53:29.3 minutes to finish fastest of the day, 7.3 seconds ahead of nearest challenger Maurice Manificat from France.

He would eventually finish the Tour in 20th place, with coach Roy Young, speaking after Thursday’s stage, full of praise for his skier.

He said: “What a day, what a week, the word legend springs to mind – it was a great race, particularly after the result in Val Mustair and Muzzy’s best ever Classic World Cup race.”

Thursday also saw the British Olympic Association (BOA) announce the 15 athletes selected to represent Team GB at the Vorarlberg and Liechtenstein 2015 European Youth Olympic Festival (EYOF 2015) from 25th-30th January 2015.

Team GB consists of 15 athletes, all aged 15-17 years old, who will compete across four of the eight disciplines at EYOF 2015; alpine skiing, cross country skiing, figure skating and snowboarding.

Two-time Olympic gold medal winning sailor and Chef de Mission Sarah Gosling said: “This is a great time to be a young British winter athlete following the success of Sochi 2014 last year. EYOF 2015 provides the perfect springboard for budding winter Olympians to gain valuable experience at a multi-sport event and as part of Team GB.”

And in ice hockey, Great Britain announced that Pete Russell is to take over the reins as the new head coach following the resignation of Doug Christiansen last year.

Russell comes into the new post with plenty of experience as Great Britain’s most successful junior coach, having won four gold, one silver and two bronze medals in 11 tournaments in charge of the Under-20s and Under-18s and he was already eyeing further milestones with the senior team.

"Becoming head coach of GB Men has always been an ambition of mine and I now want to do Great Britain proud in my time in charge,” he said.

"This is a dream come true for me and I can't wait to get going. It's a new beginning for Great Britain Men and I will select my team - one to start a new era for GB.”

The weekend also saw the finals of the BBL Cup and WBBL Trophy in Birmingham and it was Newcastle Eagles who were victorious in the men’s competition, defeating a Glasgow Rocks side including Great Britain co-captain Kieron Achara, 84-71.

While in the women’s final, City of Sheffield Hatters saw off Nottingham Wildcats 76-62 with Great Britain’s Steph Gandy top-scoring with 25 points.

© Sportsbeat 2015