Brad Hall continued his fine season and started an Olympic year with a bang by winning his second two-man bobsleigh World Cup silver medal of his career in Sigulda.
The Brit's preparations for the Beijing 2022 Olympic Winter Games, which are now just a little over a month away, are coming together nicely, as are those of Rostislav Gaitiukevich who claimed his maiden World Cup gold.
But after a 2021 in which he won every two-man and four-man race he entered, Francesco Friedrich finally proved he was human on the first day of the new year.
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The German, partnered by brakeman Thorsten Margis, was down in seventh after the first run when his sled broke away at the end of the start groove and touched the rail.
A similar issue second time down the track eventually consigned the German to a 12th-place finish, meaning he missed out on a two-man World Cup podium spot for the first time since November 2017.
Back at the top, Hall and brakeman Greg Cackett flew the British flag in style as their time of 49.64s gave them the lead following the first run, albeit just 0.01s ahead of Gaitiukevich and his push athlete Mikhail Mordasov.
The Russians then laid down a marker on their second run, with a time of 49.58s giving them an overall clocking of 1:39.23 with just the Brits to come.
Hall grew into the run after only recording the fifth-fastest start time, but he couldn't better Gaitiukevich, finishing 0.10s behind his rival - although 0.07s ahead of Austria's Benjamin Maier/Markus Sammer who took bronze.
The wait for his first World Cup medal goes on, but the Brit matched his previous best result at the top level, having also won silver at Innsbruck in January 2020.
Friedrich still leads the season-long standings on 1,028 points with Gaitiukevich up to second on 969, as Canada's Justin Kripps – fourth on the day in Sigulda – lies third. Hall is fifth on 882 points.
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