MELKSHAM slider Laura Deas was content to take a big-picture view despite narrowly missing out on a European Championships medal in Austria last week.

Deas, who trains at the University of Bath, finished fourth in the continental standings at the event, held as part of the fifth round of the Skeleton World Cup series in Igls.

Russia’s Elena Nikitina, who was stripped of her Sochi 2014 Winter Olympics bronze medal and banned from the Games for life by the International Olympic Committee last month after being found guilty of doping improprieties, claimed victory.

Nikitina is still allowed to compete in races sanctioned by the International Bobsleigh and Skeleton Federation because her initial, provisional ban was lifted after a hearing earlier this month and Deas, who finished sixth overall in the race, was edged out of the European medals.

While it was an agonising near-miss for the 29-year-old, Deas was happy to chalk it down as another important staging post towards her ultimate goal, the upcoming Winter Olympics in South Korea.

“I think it’s my best-ever finish in a European Championships so I was really pleased,’’ she told the Wiltshire Times.

“It was a little bit frustrating to be so close to a medal. I was one-hundredth of a second off a medal and I made a slight mistake on my first run in the very last corner and I think that would have been more than a hundredth’s worth of time.

“I can look back and be kicking myself but as I was going through the race thinking I was so close to a European medal.

“I was in the zone trying to do my best and it wasn’t until afterwards I looked at the timesheets and saw that I was really close.

With three rounds of the World Cup series remaining, Deas is the top-ranked British woman having finished inside the top 10 at four of the five races, leaving her in pole position to secure a British team spot for the Games in Pyeongchang in February.

“I think it’s gone pretty well,’’ she added, of her campaign to date.

“At the start of a new season you never really know what’s going to happen and it takes a little while to shake the dust out.

“But it’s been a really good start and the fact that I’ve been consistently in and around the medal zone and podium bodes really well for the remaining three races and then hopefully for Olympic selection.’’