COC: Kristjan Ilves makes it a home victory in Otepää
It was 0.8 seconds which gave local hero Kristjan Ilves the victory in his home venue of Otepää. The return of the Continental Cup series to Estonia saw an exciting first competition in which Ilves narrowly beat out Germany’s David Welde for the victory - to the delight of the present spectators. Norwegian Espen Bjørnstad claimed rank three by finishing 12.1 seconds behind the winner.
Ilves laid the foundation for his success with a great performance on the jumping hill. With 99.5 metres, he had the longest jump of the day and headed the result list with 133.5 points. They translated into a 22 second head start on Norway’s Sindre Ure Søtvik for the cross-country race. David Welde was intermediate third with 97 metres and 128 points. He started 26 seconds after the leader Ilves.
In the race, the 28th fastest-cross-country time was actually enough for Ilves to keep fast pursuers like Truls Johansen and Lukas Greiderer off his back. Forming a leading duo together with David Welde, Ilves used the momentum of the last downhill into the stadium to ski past the German and then outsprinted him on the final stretch.
Fastest skier on the track was Italian Armin Bauer who improved his 30th position after the jumping event to a final 11th rank. Sinde Ure Søtvik, Harald Riiber, Martin Fritz, Ryota Yamamoto and Tom Lubitz completed the Top Ten.