This year's first test event for the Sochi 2014 bobsled track concluded Thursday with Vancouver bronze medalist Alexander Tretiakov winning the domestic Russian Cup in the skeleton.
Tretiakov, the overall 2009 Skeleton World Cup winner, destroyed the field to clock one minute, 56. 61 seconds at the Sliding Center Sanki in the Caucasus mountains.
“The victory was hard,” Tretiakov told R-Sport. “In any competition, the state of mind and preparation are important, nothing comes easy.”
Alexander Mutovin took the silver over a second back, with Ruslan Sabitov third.
The newly built bobsled track is the world's longest at 1.8 kilometers, and had its first test event in March at the Russian championships.
Tretiakov emphasized that experience gained at the track may give Russian athletes an edge at the Sochi Olympics.
“When you ride a lot, you feel relaxed on the track, because you know where you should lie to build up speed. … When you ride, you almost stop thinking.”
In February, the track will host the ninth and final stage of the Skeleton World Cup.
This winter's test events program for the Sochi Olympics began earlier this month with the Federation Cup in figure skating. The Iceberg Skating Palace passed with flying colors.
The Sochi 2014 Games begin in February 7 of that year. Organizers say facilities are more than 70 percent complete, and that all major construction should finish next year.