Great Britain name 15-strong team for World Bobsleigh Championships
Great Britain have named a 15-strong squad heading to the World Bobsleigh Championships in Koenigssee over the next two weekends.
With the two-man and women's competitions kicking off on Friday, GB Bobsleigh performance director Gary Anderson has named Mica McNeill and Mica Moore in the women's bob, with Sochi 2014 Olympians Bruce Tasker and Joel Fearon in one sled, while Brad Hall and Sam Blanchet complete the lineup.
The four-man competitions get underway on Saturday, February 24, with Lamin Deen and Hall set for the piloting roles, while Tasker, Fearon, John Baines, Blanchet, Greg Cackett, Tremayne Gilling, Mark Lewis-Francis, Andrew Matthews, Toby Olubi and Ben Simons fight it out for the remaining six push roles.
Montell Douglas, who recently won a Europa Cup event with McNeill, misses out due to injury, meaning the world junior championship-winning Micas are reunited for Friday and Saturday's racing.
And Anderson is in confident mood heading into the biggest week of the season.
"We are on a very positive trajectory having hit all the targets set in the past seven seasons and we go into these World Championships with the intention of doing so yet again," he said.
"I'm happy with the strength of the squad and the talent available to us for these World Championships and I'm excited to see how we perform on the big stage over the next two weekends.
"The pre-Olympic year presents unique challenges as we are finalising sled development and testing optimal crew combinations but is also a great opportunity for our athletes to put down a marker for their inclusion in the Olympic team in 12 months' time.
"That definitely creates an element of pressure as we seek a big result in the build up but we are confident our processes are correct and that we are heading in the right direction.
"This year we sometimes need to measure our progress with a compass rather than a clock but there is no doubt that some big results in Koenigssee would be a real boost."
In addition to Douglas' injury, Hall has missed two months of the season and Fearon was forced to sit out the recent World Cup in Innsbruck with a back injury.
And Anderson admitted that some members of his squad face a battle to be fit in time.
"There is no getting away from the fact that we have had more injury issues than we would have liked so far this season and, at times, it has felt as though the weather and conditions have been significantly against us, but that is the nature of top-class sport," he added.
"Hall, Baines and Fearon are all working hard to be fit for what is the showpiece event of the year and we will give them every chance to prove their fitness right up to the last minute. It is a race against time but I'm confident they will be ready to give their all for GB."