Lahti, which is located about 100 kilometres north of Helsinki, is the capital of Finland's Paijänne Tavastia region. The town with about 100.000 inhabitants has a long tradition in winter sports to look back on to. The Lahti Ski Games where ski jumping, Nordic Combined and cross-country athletes come together, were held for the first time in 1923 and while they of course changed over time, they were still held almost every year since then. As early as 1938, over 100.000 spectators came to Lahti, a center of nordic sports with its facility with three hills and a big cross country stadium. The ski museum which is located directly in the stadium informs the visitors about the history of the Lahti Ski Games with many historical items. Lahti also was the host city of two FIS Nordic Ski World Championships in 1989 and 2001 and will again host the championships in 2017.
The Nordic Combined athletes compete on the HS 130 large hill located on the left side of the ski jumping stadium, next to the two smaller hills .The Gundersen competitions are usually held on a 4 x 2.5 km course which runs through the ski stadium with its spectator ranks.
With the season 2013/14 nearing its end, the last Team Sprint of the winter was on schedule in Lahti today and the victory was snagged by Team Norway I. Håvard Klemetsen and Jørgen Graabak were best after their two jumps and two times 7.5 kilometres of cross-country skiing and crossed the finish line 1.2 seconds ahead of Team Germany I (Frenzel/Rydzek). The last remaining spot on the podium was taken up by Francois Braud and Sebastian Lacroix from France. They finished 24.4 seconds after the winners.
In a showcase of German strength, Johannes Rydzek has taken the top spot on the podium of today's Individual Gundersen competition in Lahti today. He crossed the finish line 7 seconds ahead of his closest adversary, Akito Watabe from Japan. Rank three went to Germany's Eric Frenzel who finished 20.6 seconds after the winner in a thrilling sprint for the finish line with his teammate Tino Edelmann who was just a fraction of a second behind. With this result, Frenzel also took his second consecutive overall World Cup win. With 913 points, runner-up Akito Watabe cannot catch up anymore with a current point standing of 581 points.
After his home Olympics, Russia's Evgeniy Klimov has not lost anything of his star power in the jumping part and won today's PCR in Lahti. With a strong jump of 123 metres and 118.3 points, he topped the results list ahead of Olympic Champion Eric Frenzel (115.5 p.) and Austria's Christoph Bieler (112.5 p.).
After the Olympics is before the Lahti Ski Games and now it is back to World Cup business for all Olympic athletes and also some of those who had to stay home in the past three weeks.
Right after the Nordic Combined Triple, the next highlight will follow suit: the Olympic Games in Sochi. Part II of the extended season preview will take you to all stops of the later part of the winter!
Finnish Nordic Combined shooting star Ilkka Herola has another title under his belt. The 18-year-old form Siilinjärvi is the new summer national champion in Finland, his brother Matti Herola was taking the second place and Ville Heikkinen coming in third. Janne Ryynänen was not starting and chose to focus on training in Rovaniemi instead.