Rydzek beats Frenzel by a foot's breadth in Seefeld
A photo finish had to decide the victory on the first day of the Nordic Combined TRIPLE in Seefeld. Johannes Rydzek made sensation reality and beat "Mr. Seefeld" Eric Frenzel by half a foot or "my shoe size 44 over Eric's 42" in the end. Italy's Samuel Costa captured his career-first individual podium on rank three, finishing 6.8 seconds behind Rydzek.
In the jumping round, Berhard Gruber from Austria delighted the audience with another one of his „Berni-bombs“. A fantastic jump of 107 metres gave him the intermediate lead going out on the track. Italian jumping sensation Costa jumped to the second rank with 106 metres and a point total of 137.5 points put him four seconds behind Gruber on the track. Eric Frenzel had 102 metres to show for but jumped in more difficult conditions, so this just put him only eleven seconds behind the leader Gruber.
Local hero David Pommer held the fourth position at the start of the race and together with Johannes Rydzek on rank five, he went out at the 18/19 second mark. In the race, these five athletes quickly formed a leading group, after Gruber and Costa took it easy on the first of two 2.5 km loops.
On the flat part leading to the last ascent of the second 2.5 km loop, Rydzek and Frenzel went away from the three other athletes, so it became apparent that the fight for the victory would only be between these two athletes. Rydzek tried to go away on the uphill but Frenzel wasn’t having any of it and so the fight was taken all the way to the finish line. In the end, it was just a couple of centimetres that decided the winner: Johannes Rydzek.
Behind the two Germans, Samuel Costa skied a courageous last lap and held David Pommer at bay, taking his career-first podium in the process. Pommer will not be too unhappy, taking a career-best result in his hometown at the same time. Akito Watabe battled down Bernhard Gruber for the fifth position. The rest of the Top Ten spots were taken up by Fabian Rießle, Ilkka Herola, Manuel Faißt and Jan Schmid.
Strong jumper Jarl Riiber whom many had on their lists for a possible victory on Day 1 of the TRIPLE had another bout of bad luck and injured his shoulder again just minutes before his competition jump.