Berni Gruber grabs win in first Night Race in Oberstdorf
Today's third individual competition of the FIS Summer Grand Prix 2013 in Oberstdorf, Germany saw a third winner: Berni Gruber arrived at the finish line in front of a large crowd of enthusiastic spectators first. 8,7 seconds separated him and second-placed Jan Schmid from Norway. They were joined on the podium by Akito Watabe from Japan who finished 16,3 seconds later.
As today's competition in Oberstdorf was the second part of the Weekend Challenge test for the winter time, the athletes started into the ski jumping part with point disadvantages according to the final result of the competition in Villach which was the first in the Weekend Challenge test. Winner Haavard Klemetsen started with zero minus points, runners-up Bernhard Gruber and Jan Schmid with -0,1 and -0,3 points.
In the ski jumping part on the HS 137 hill in Oberstdorf's Erdinger Arena, Summer Grand Prix overall leader Akito Watabe showed another piece of his jumping skills and headed the result table with a jump of 130 metres which gave him 123,9 points and a 1-second-lead on runner-up Bernhard Gruber from Austria who was breathing down Watabe's neck with a jump of 129 metres and 123,6 points.
Haavard Klemetsen followed on rank three (126,5 m; 121,9 p.) and 8 seconds of time disadvantage. Also closely following the leading group was Norway's Jan Schmid who once again proved his strength in jumping and started with only 14 seconds of time disadvantage on the leader Watabe.
The many spectators were especially delighted about local hero Johannes Rydzek's performance. The Oberstdorf native came in on an intermediate fifth rank (121 m; 110.9 p.) and 52 seconds of time behind for the 10 kilometre roller ski race. Teammates Björn Kircheisen and Tobias Haug were also ranked in the Top Ten, occupying the places six and ten. World Champion Eric Frenzel followed on rank eleven.
After that, the Night Race was started directly in the outrun of the hills. On the city course, leading group formed out of the first four athletes of the field. Gruber, Schmid, Klemetsen and Watabe skied together for the first part of the race until Haavard Klemetsen couldn't hang on to the rest of the group and fell back. The Norwegian finally finished fifth. Behind the leading group, the German duo of Kircheisen and Rydzek made up some time but did not manage to catch the three leaders.
On the last lap, Jan Schmid tried to get away but could not shake Gruber while Watabe lost contact to the two leaders. In the end, Gruber proved to strong and won with a clear margin of 8,7 seconds.
For the overall, this now means a 20 lead for Berni Gruber (230 p.). Ranks two and three went to Akito Watabe and Jan Schmid who accumulated 210 and 164 points.
Find the full result lists here:
The last competition of the Summer Grand Prix, a Final Individual Gundersen with the Top 30 athletes of the Summer Grand Prix overall standing, will take place tomorrow. The first of the two jumps starts at 18:30 and the final 15 kilometres of roller skiing, once again through the outrun area and Oberstdorf's city center, will take place at 20:30.
Please also pay special attention to tomorrow's Youth Cup competition. The future Nordic Combined stars will start their jumping competition on the HS 60 hill with the trial round at 09:00, followed by the competition jump. The races for the age categories of 13 and 14-year-olds (4 and 6 kilometres) will take place immediately before the Summer Grand Prix cross-country race at 18:30. All of the athletes can look forward to a joint prize giving ceremony afterwards.