Skeleton - Rudman on verge of historic World title

Shelley Rudman has Britain's first ever women's skeleton World Championship title within her grasp as she leads at the halfway stage in St Moritz by exactly a second.

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Shelley Rudman

Rudman, who won Olympic silver at Turin 2006, has struggled with illness this season and travelled to Switzerland sitting seventh in the defence of her overall World Cup title.

However the 32-year-old proved she still has it by winning in Winterberg early in December while her last four visits to St Moritz have produced three victories and a second.

And Rudman underlined her dominance of the Switzerland track in emphatic style over the first two runs to build a lead of exactly one second ahead of 2007 champion Noelle Pikus-Pace.

In a sport where hundredths of a second usually separate the top three, Rudman's lead would appear unassailable but she is taking nothing for granted in St Moritz.

"There is always room for improvement," said Rudman. "I am quite picky when it comes to my runs and I will be going back to the drawing board and looking at my curves."

Only one Brit has ever won the skeleton world title, that Rudman's partner Kristan Bromley in Altenberg back in 2008, however that looks set to change.

Britian has never had two sliders on the same World Championship podium either but, that could be changed too, with Lizzy Yarnold lying in third place.

Yarnold took bronze on her world debut last year with Rudman fourth and Olympic champion Amy Williams fifth and is 0.15seconds behind Pikus-Pace.

And Yarnold, who sits fourth in the overall World Cup standings ahead of the season finale at the 2014 Olympic track in Sochi, is too looking for ways to improve.

"There is a lot of work to do and you can always improve," said Yarnold. "St Moritz is still a new track for me and I am learning all the time but it is going to plan."

Rudman clocked 1:09.54minutes for a lead of 0.45 ahead of Pikus-Pace after run one before exploding again on run two to post 1:09.49 for a one-second cushion.

Pikus-Pace went slower second time out while Yarnold improved from 1:10.15 to 1:10.03 to reduce the American's lead over her in second by one hundredth of a second.

Meanwhile the third and final Brit in action in St Moritz Donna Creighton is placed 19th overall with runs of 1:11.65 and 1:11.31 putting her 3.93 behind compatriot Rudman.

© Sportsbeat 2013

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