Mica McNeill and Montell Douglas came within touching distance of a podium finish as their two-woman bobsleigh World Cup season got going in style in Innsbruck.

The British duo finished in a time of 1:48.13 in Austria, more than a second off the pace of gold medallists Laura Nolte and Deborah Levi but just one spot off the top three.

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Two consistent runs were to thank for McNeill and Douglas' high-flying performance, level in fourth place at the halfway stage before making the position their own following the second slide.

And while a podium finish was just out of reach, fourth marked a joint best on the World Cup circuit having registered the same result in Altenberg back in January 2019.

It was also the British pair's first race of the season having missed the double-header in Latvia.

Meanwhile, Nolte and Levi took top spot with runs of 53.65 and 53.35 seconds as German athletes completed a clean sweep of the two-woman podium.

Kim Kalicki and Ann-Christin Strack clocked 1:47.30 for second while third place went to compatriots Mariama Jamanka and Leonie Fiebeg, another 0.15 seconds back.

Back-to-back race victories have taken Nolte to sixth spot in the World Cup rankings with 450 points to her name.

But she remains almost 200 points behind leader Jamanka, who has now finished first, second and third in her three outings this term.

Kalicki is on her tail, however, having also registered a perfect run of podium finishes while McNeill rounds out the top ten despite racing just once.

The World Cup circuit remains in Innsbruck for the second race of a double-header next weekend.

Sportsbeat 2020

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