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Monday, 10 December, 2018

Resurgent Lizzy Yarnold can retain skeleton crown

Sochi champion peaking at the right time

Lizzy Yarnold: Team GB flagbearer provided John Hunt's number one highlight of the Winter Olympics when she defended her title in the skeleton
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Starts 11.20am Friday

For much of this four-year Olympics cycle, women's skeleton champion Lizzy Yarnold has looked to have a slim chance of retaining her crown, but the 2014 appears to be peaking at just the right time.

Hampered by illness and poor form in a 2017 campaign dominated by Germany's Jacqueline Lolling, the one bright spot for Yarnold was the solid fourth place she took in the Olympic track test event in Pyeongchang.

Third position at Lake Placid was the best she managed in the World Cup this season, but things have looked much brighter in the six Olympic training sessions.

Yarnold looked sensibly priced at 20-1 just over a week ago but her odds have tumbled to 4-1 as the British sliders in their controversial high-tech suits have turned heads with fast times.

Former event rider Laura Deas was the early star for Team GB, finshing just 0.01 second behind Austria's Janine Flock in the first run, with Yarnold a close third.

Deas topped the times in the second and third sessions, but since then the champion has looked the main British threat, finishing first, third and second in the final three warm-up sessions.

Lolling is sure to be in the hunt for the title but it's no surprise she has drifted from odds-on quotes to 2-1.

Team GB have a fine tradition in this event with Alex Coomber taking bronze in 2002, Shelley Rudman grabbing silver in 2006 and Amy Wilkliams triumphing in 2010 before Yarnold's Sochi success and the run of golds may not be finished after all.

Lindsey Vonn is 11-4 favourite for the women's Super G event. Swiss star Lara Gut had looked a major danger after a strong series of World Cup results but her heavy crash in the giant slalom tempers confidence.

L Yarnold Women's skeleton
1pt 4-1 Hills, Paddy Power

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Deas topped the times in the second and third sessions, but since then the champion has looked the main British threat
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