Germany golden in Lahti 2017 Team Event
Team Germany has defended their team title from Falun 2015. In an impressive performance, Björn Kircheisen, Eric Frenzel, Fabian Rießle and Johannes Rydzek never left a moment of doubt about their victory. In the end, Rydzek finished the last leg 41.7 seconds ahead of Team Norway. Magnus Moan, Mikko Kokslien, Magnus Krog and Jørgen Graabak clinched the silver medal, bronze went to Austria after an intense fight with Japan and Finland on the last lap (+1:03.7).
In the jumping round, Kircheisen, Rießle, Frenzel and Rydzek’s team effort brought the German team a head start of 44 seconds for the race. A total of 500.8 points after jumps of 91, 97, 100 and 96.5 metres had the Germans starting in the pole position for the 4 x 5 km race.
Team Japan and the French team were the first ones to pursue the Germans on the track. The brothers Watabe, Hideaki Nagai and Takehiro Watanabe collected a total of 468 points and started together with the French team, who had a point total of 467.7 points after jumps of 93.5, 90, 93.5 and 95 metres.
Team Austria and Team Norway had catch up one minute and five and one minute and seven seconds respectively and were eyeing the silver and bronze medals as well as the local heroes from Team Finland. Eero Hirvonen, Hannu Manninen, Leevi Mutru and Ilkka Herola were fighting hard and held their time disadvantage at one minute and 26 seconds.
In the cross-country race, there was never a lot of doubt about the German victory. All four athletes showed solid performances and the gap to the second placed team never got smaller than 45 seconds. As in the individual event, Johannes Rydzek had some time to wave to the crowds, take a flag and enjoy the moment when he crossed the finish line. For veteran Björn Kircheisen, this moment meant he finally had the coveted World Championship gold medal after chasing this dream for 14 years.
Behind the Germans, team Norway caught up with Japan, France and Austria quickly and on the second leg, Mikko Kokslien went away from the other pursuers. The gap grew to the chasing teams grew and grew until Jørgen Graabak finished for Norway, also undisputedly, 20 seconds ahead of the next wave of teams coming in.
The fight for the bronze medal was only decided on the last lap, with Austria and Japan skiing together for long stretches of the race. The Finnish audience went wild when veteran Hannu Manninen closed the gap to rank three to only a few seconds on the first of his two laps but Akito Watabe and Paul Gerstgraser worked together to keep the Finnish record athlete at bay. In the end, youngster Gerstgraser attacked on the last uphill and had a strong finish on his first big championship start and secured the bronze medal for team Austria, Japan took position four and Finland finished fifth.
The fastest team on the track was Italy, who improved their eleventh position of the jumping event into a final sixth position. The fastest individual skier was Alessandro Pittin, who needed 11:26.9 for the 5 km.
Ski Jumping Results