Eric Frenzel unbeatable in Oberstdorf
Eric Frenzel claimed the victory in the last Individual Gundersen competition before the Olympic Winter Games in Sochi. He beat Norway's Jan Schmid after a sprint for the finish line by 0.5 seconds. They were joined on the podium by Akito Watabe (JPN) who was back on top after an influenza and finished 4.6 seconds afte Frenzel.
Jumping in Oberstdorf was not easy today, as the wind conditions were changing constantly. Austria's Christoph Bieler dealt with the conditions best, jumping 133.5 metres for a point value of 136.6. With the jump, he went into the cross-country part 11 seconds ahead of Pavel Churavy (CZE) who showed 131 metres (133.8 p.). In third position, Frenzel set himself up for another individual victory. He started into the race 14 seconds after Bieler.
The fourth place at intermediate time went to Watabe (+0:32), behind him a group consisting of Willi Denifl, Jan Schmid and Marjan Jelenko started closely together at time disadvantages of 40, 41 and 42 seconds. Also within one minute of the leader were Fabian Riessle who had a good jump of 127 metres after his jumping yesterday still left room for improvement. Norway's Thomas Kjelbotn had the same time behind of 54 seconds with a jump of 122.5 in very different conditions.
German jumping specialist Tobias Haug had difficulties not to crash during his jump and landed safely but only at 99.5 metres. Also not having a good jump was World and Olympic champion Jason Lamy Chappuis who jumped only 114 metres (rank 30 after jumping), in contrast to his teammate and strong skier Sebastien Lacroix who was happy about his 121.5 metre-jump and an intermediate 17th rank with a time disadvantage of +1:18.
The cross-country race looked differently from what experts predicted with Eric Frenzel only 14 seconds of time behind so far. This time, the German reacted smartly to the slow conditions on the track and did not break away from his followers to ski a lonely race at the front but worked together in a bigger leading group consisting of Bieler, Watabe, Schmid and Denifl who found each other during the second lap.
The group stayed together for the duration of more or less the same race, being chased by a bigger pursuing group with strong German skiers Björn Kircheisen and Johannes Rydzek, Tino Edelmann, Mario Stecher and Bernhard Gruber. This pursuing group was not able to catch up with the leaders, so the fight for the podium ranks was on between five athletes: Frenzel, Schmid, Watabe, Bieler and Denifl. Schmid attacked on the last uphill but was not able to secure a leading position going into the downhill again and so Frenzel had the better end, entering the home stretch first and winning the sprint for the finish line. Watabe beat out Denifl and Bieler and added another podium to his collection.
Now a short break is on schedule for the Nordic Combined athletes before the first Olympic competition will take place at the 12th of February.