Path to PyeongChang: 45 days to go
Winter Sports

Path to PyeongChang: 45 days to go

26 December 2017 / 11:46

The Christmas turkey and mince pies may still be getting devoured, but the winter programme isn't settling down for the holidays.

Plenty of festive cheer graced the British athletes over the past week, with no fewer than five top-ten World Cup finishes and a string of impressive performances all over the world.

The action hots up again this week and, with less than 50 days to go, there’s no better time to get back on the path to PyeongChang with our weekly round-up.

Season’s best and season’s greetings for Ryding

Dave Ryding has thus far experienced a season oh-so-close to glory, but nobody could stop him reaching a campaign-best under the slalom lights of Madonna di Campiglio.

Tenth after his first run, the 31-year-old had to pull it out of the bag in the second and certainly did that, registering the fourth-fastest time of the round.

Even quicker than winner Marcel Hirscher, that propelled Ryding to sixth overall in Italy, less than a quarter of a second away from taking home gold in what would have been the perfect way to go into Christmas.

But that didn't detract from the pleasing display, with January’s second at Kitzbuhel and fourth in Stockholm his only better World Cup outings to date.

A strong showing also came from Alex Tilley, registering a World Cup best of 13th in the giant slalom before going on to qualify 12th in the ladies’ parallel slalom knockout.

Personal bests achieved at Secret Garden

With three British skiers competing and three British skiers achieving a personal best, the pre-Christmas halfpipe World Cup in Secret Garden certainly provided plenty of joy.

That included Peter Speight, picking up the penultimate place in qualifying before improving on each of his runs, progressing from sixth to fifth and finally fourth, the best result for a British male in a ski halfpipe World Cup.

“My skiing came together and I’m really stoked to be have been able to step things up in finals,” he told British Ski and Snowboard. “I’m not getting ahead of myself as it’s just one result but I’m really happy.

“I’ll be looking to build on this going into the rest of the season and keep stepping things up.”

Bettering his previous career best of 17th, Speight was joined in some festive celebrations by Xander Glavatsky-Yeadon, who also registered his maiden top-ten with an eighth-place finish.

And there was also improvement for Molly Summerhayes, falling just 0.8 seconds short of a place in the final in China.

Tyler made of Hard stuff in top-ten finish

Not since his breakthrough performance as a 16-year-old had Tyler Harding notched a top-15 World Cup finish.

But in the men’s slopestyle, in France, he echoed that 2013 performance with a superb showing, finishing eighth for his first top-ten outing.

A solid first run saw him one place further up the leaderboard, only for a dislodged ski to put pay to his chances of finishing any higher – not that he was complaining one bit.

He said: “I’m hyped to get eighth in my first World Cup finals this year. Big thanks to everyone who helped make this happen.”

Confidence building for Deas

Four Olympic Winter Games, four medals won – Great Britain’s female skeleton athletes know what it takes to climb the medal rostrum when it matters most.

But next year, high up at the Alpensia Sliding Centre, the Brits will be aiming to step things up another notch.


For Laura Deas that will mean her maiden Olympic Winter Games, at 29 years of age, confident the accumulated experience and racing know-how will see her right.

“For me, it would be my first Games and it will be a totally different experience,” she said.

“But I really do believe we (Lizzy Yarnold and I) can both be on the podium.”

Read more here about Deas' slide to PyeongChang

Musgrave looking for perfect start to 2018

The end of the year has been full of turning points for Andrew Musgrave – but the cross-country skier is far from done yet.

Standing on the podium for the first time in a World Cup ten days ago, the 27-year-old is riding a crest of a wave and there’s no better time to be doing that than in the run-up to the Olympic Winter Games.

But his 2017 is not done quite yet, with the next leg of the cross country World Cup taking him to Lenzerheide, Switzerland this weekend.

Starting with the men’s sprint on Saturday, the 15km freestyle is a day later while 2018 could get off to the perfect start for Musgrave, with the 15km pursuit taking place on New Year's Day.

Sportsbeat 2017

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