Akito Watabe begins TRIPLE with a victory
Akito Watabe began the TRIPLE with the bang and a victory in a finish line sprint. The Japanese beat jumping winner Jarl Magnus Riiber by 0.5 seconds. Germany’s Fabian Rießle stormed to the podium from position six and finished 32.4 seconds later than Watabe.
The jumping round had it all: long jumps, shorter jumps and jumping sensation Jarl Riiber returning to the top of the result list. He claimed the pole position with the longest jump of the day, 108.5 metres. This performance gave him a 21-second head start on Akito Watabe and 34 seconds on teammate and World Cup leader Jan Schmid.
While these first three athletes were set for the lead in the race, the was a slightly bigger gap to all pursuers. Yoshito Watabe was closest, starting with +0:57 after a 103 metre jump. Fast German Fabian Rießle and the King of Seefeld, Eric Frenzel started with delays of one minute and three seconds and one minute and 21 seconds from positions six and seven. Jørgen Graabak jumped well as well and started one second behind Frenzel.
The quick 5 km race had Riiber starting at his pace and maintaining a narrow lead until the first half of the last lap. When Watabe had closed the 21-second gap, the two continued together. Watabe managed to go into the downhill leading into the finish first and used these few metres of advantage to outsprint Riiber in a finish line sprint.
Behind the leading duo, Jan Schmid was coming closer and closer as well but was caught by the fast approaching Fabian Rießle on the last metres of the race. Still 20 seconds behind Schmid at the 3.4 km intermediate time, Rießle fully stepped on the gas to snatch the third place from the World Cup leader. Yoshito Watabe probably delighted his and Akito’s parents with a great family result on rank five. Kristjan Ilves was sixth, Vinzenz Geiger seventh. Lukas Klapfer had the second-fastest time to show for and turned rank 23 into a final eighth positon. Espen Andersen entered the Top Ten on position nine, coming from rank 16 and Jørgen Graabak beat the King of Seefeld, Eric Frenzel, in a finish line sprint for rank ten.
Three athletes did not make the cut to the Top 50 competitors that are eligible to start tomorrow: Korea’s Je-Un Park, USA’s Jasper Good and Berhard Flaschberger. Poland’s Wojciech Marusarz did not start in the race after a fall on the jumping hill.