Skeleton - Dukurs wins fourth successive World Cup title in Sochi

Martins Dukurs laid down a formidable marker for Olympic gold after claiming his fourth successive skeleton World Cup title with victory at the final round and test event in Sochi.

Skeleton - Dukurs on verge of historic fifth straight World Cup title

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Latvia's Martins Dukurs (AFP)

The 28-year-old was the champion-elect heading to the Russian Olympic venue having won seven of the eight races so far this season including the last five in a row.

That gave him a 223-point lead at the top of the overall World Cup standings with only 225 on offer in Sochi.

Despite a remarkable fightback over the last run in St Moritz, Dukurs lost at the World Championships for the first time in three years with Alexander Tretiakov victorious.

But Dukurs exacted revenge on the Russian on his own ice in Sochi to win by 0.17 seconds from him - while Germany's Frank Rommel occupying third place at the test event.

Dukurs's win was the 25th of his World Cup career and also sees him claim the inaugural Triple Trophy and €100,000 prize for winning the last three races of the season.

And, having had to settle for silver at the Vancouver 2010 Olympics behind home hope Jon Montgomery, Dukurs will surely head back to Sochi next year as the man to beat.

He held a 0.17 lead over Tretiakov after posting 56.90 on his first run with older brother Tomass Dukurs 0.43 further back in third with a 0.10 cushion over fourth-placed American John Daly.

Martins Dukurs and Tretiakov clocked the same time on run two, 57.22, to hand the Latvian victory in Sochi and in the overall World Cup, the latter for the fourth successive time.

They stormed clear of the rest of the field with the gap between Tretiakov, who was last the man to win the World Cup title before Martins Dukurs in 2009, and third place 1.23.

Rommel jumped from fifth to third place after posting 57.87 second time out with Daly remaining in fourth and Tomass Dukurs slipping to fifth place overall.

Meanwhile's Britain's three sliders all finished in a line with Ed Smith this time the pick of the bunch in 14th before Kristan Bromley in 15th and Dominic Parsons in 16th.

Smith was the lowest of the three at the World Championships - 15th to Parsons' ninth and Bromley's 10th - but he turned the tide at the final World Cup round

Results (combined)

1 LAT DUKURS, Martins 1:54.12

2 RUS TRETJYAKOV, Alexander 1:54.29 +0.17

3 GER ROMMEL, Frank 1:55.52 +1.40

4 USA DALY, John 1:55.59 +1.47

5 LAT DUKURS, Tomass 1:55.72 +1.60

6 GER KROECKEL, Alexander 1:55.78 +1.66

7 GER GROTHEER, Christopher 1:55.84 +1.72

8 NZL SANDFORD, Ben 1:55.99 +1.87

9 CAN FAIRBAIRN, John 1:56.13 +2.01

10 CAN NEILSON, Eric 1:56.23 +2.11

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