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Vathje rakes silver, Rahneva earns bronze in skeleton World Cup race

Latvia's winner Martins Dukurs, center, South Korea's second placed Yun Sung-bin, left, and Russia's third placed Nikita Tregubov celebrate on the podium after the men's Skeleton World Cup race in Innsbruck, Austria, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

Latvia's winner Martins Dukurs, center, South Korea's second placed Yun Sung-bin, left, and Russia's third placed Nikita Tregubov celebrate on the podium after the men's Skeleton World Cup race in Innsbruck, Austria, Friday, Dec. 15, 2017. (AP Photo/Kerstin Joensson)

IGLS, Austria — Elisabeth Vathje earned silver and Canadian teammate Mirela Rahneva took bronze in a women's skeleton World Cup race on Friday.

Vathje, from Calgary, finished with a combined time of one minute 49.38 seconds while Ottawa's Rahneva finished in 1:49.44.

Russia's Elena Nikitina won the race with a time of 1:48.80.

It was the third silver medal of the season, and second in as many weeks for Vathje, and the first podium of the year for Rahneva. The Canadian duo also shared the podium one year ago at a World Cup in Winterberg, Germany when Vathje won gold and Rahneva the bronze.

Channell, from North Vancouver, finished 14th spot.

"The only thing better than sharing the podium with Mimi, would be to share it with both Mimi and Jane," said the 23-year-old Vathje. "I think it shows the strength in our program, and we are here to fight. All three Canadians moved up from their spots after the first run and that shows the tenacity in our team."

Vathje in third spot after her first trip down the flat 1,478-metre chute in Austria. She moved up a spot on the podium after clocking the third fastest time again in the final heat, finishing with a combined time of 1:49.38.

"For me it is sometimes hard to attack on the first run so I knew going into the second run I could fight to move up - especially with a push improvement," said Vathje, who knocked .07 of her start time in the second heat.

"Igls is a tricky one. It is easy to get down, but hard to be fast. You need to have a good combo of equipment, push and very gentle driving."

Rahneva was seventh after the opening run before posting the second-fastest second run.

"Before the race, I definitely had my sights set on a podium finish. After coming seventh in the first heat, I really tried to concentrate and visualize the track. I knew from last year that I can race well here," said Rahneva.

Vathje moved into second spot in the overall World Cup standings. Rahneva sits third and Channell seventh.

Earlier, Latvia's Martins Dukurs won his 50th career World Cup race with a time of 1:46.03. Korea's Sungbin Yun slid to the silver at 1:46.18, while Russia's Nikita Tregubov slid to the bronze at 1:46.52.

Dave Greszczyszyn of Brampton, Ont., was the top Canadian in 14th.

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