Melbardis ends four-man duck in Innsbruck
Oskars Melbardis picked up his first four-man bobsleigh World Cup win since February 2015 with an impressive display in Innsbruck.
The Latvian world champion was joined by a brake crew of Daumants Dreiskens, Arvis Vilkaste and Janis Strenga in Austria, victorious by just 0.05 seconds after their two heats.
Having registered a first run of 50.88 to top the early rankings, it seemed as though they would go even better with a start of 5.02seconds.
But the Latvian team quickly fell away to record the fifth fastest time of the heat – still enough to see them on top spot.
Switzerland's Rico Peter, Simon Friedli, Alex Baumann and Thomas Amrhein took up second place, with their combined time of 1:42.06 falling just short of top place on the podium.
And with just five-hundredths of a second separating the top five teams in their second runs, American quartet Steven Holcomb – 2010 Olympic champion – Carlo Valdes, James Reed and Sam McGuffie settled for third, just one-hundredth behind the Swiss team.
There was also history made further down the field as Rudy Rinaldi, Boris Vain, Thibault Demarthon and Steven Borges Mendonaca of Monaco finished in the top ten for the first time.
With the World Cup final and Olympic trials in Pyeongchang rapidly approaching, Alexander Kasjanov's Russian crew continue to lead the way ahead of the March showcase, despite only finishing ninth in Innsbruck.
Their 1275 points sees them just 14 ahead of Peter of Switzerland, while it's the American team who occupy third spot with seven of the eight races now completed.