The United States will return to the IBSF World Cup in Winterberg ©Getty Images

United States will return to the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation (IBSF) World Cup circuit in Winterberg, which will see the first four-man races contested in 11 months.

United States Bobsled and Skeleton Federation (USABS) announced in October its teams would not participate in the opening half of the World Cup season to ensure the safety of their athletes during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Their athletes have missed the opening four World Cup events.

Two-time Olympic champion Kaillie Humphries, who previously represented Canada, will be among the US representatives competing in Winterberg.

She will be joined by Sylvia Hoffman in one of three sleds in the women’s bobsleigh event.

Elana Meyers Taylor returns just 10 months after giving birth, with the pilot having missed last season while pregnant.

Meyers Taylor will be joined by Lolo Jones, while Brittany Reinbolt and Lauren Gibbs complete their line-up in the women’s bobsleigh events.

Skeleton athletes Austin Florian, Austin McCrary, Katie Uhlaender and Kendall Wesenberg are among others to have made the trip.

Martins Dukurs leads the men's skeleton World Cup standings ©Getty Images
Martins Dukurs leads the men's skeleton World Cup standings ©Getty Images

Codie Bascue and Geoff Gadbois will pilot men’s two and four-man bobsleigh crews over the weekend.

The return of the US team comes as Latvia’s bobsleigh teams have been forced out of the World Cup event, which is also doubling as the European Championships.

The Latvian Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation confirmed it would not send a team to the event in Winterberg following a COVID-19 outbreak.

Latvia will still have strong chances of success in the men’s skeleton event, with Martins Dukurs topping the standings after winning the opening four races of the season.

Austria’s Janine Flock leads the women’s standings after three wins, but has never triumphed at Winterberg.

Both the men’s and women’s skeleton races will be held tomorrow.

The men’s and women’s two-man bobsleigh events are scheduled to take place on Saturday (January 9), followed by a four-man competition on Sunday (January 10).