Ice Climbing World Cup action began in France ©UIAA

Russia's Ekaterina Koshcheeva topped women's speed qualification as the penultimate stage of the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation Ice Climbing World Cup season began in Champagny-en-Vanoise in France.

The speed World Cup leader, who won in Beijing and has never been outside of the top three this season, clocked 19.64sec to head 16 climbers going through to tomorrow's eliminations.

Russian climbers occupied the top six positions in all with Valeriia Bogdan second fastest today in 22.37.

Maria Tolokonina was third fastest in 23.04.

In the men's speed, lead World Cup leader Nikolai Kuzovlev topped qualifying as he timed in at 13.25.

Russians again dominated, with Vladislav Iurlov stopping the watches at 14.81 and Anton Sukharev managing 15.50 for second and third respectively. 

In the lead semi-finals, Kuzovlev and Russia did not have it all his own way as Switzerland's Yannick Glatthard led the way .

Switzerland also headed the women's semi-finals thanks to Petra Klingler.

Both the speed and lead competitions will continue tomorrow.