COC: Espen Andersen does it again in Klingenthal
Second day in Klingenthal and for the second time, Espen Andersen and Thomas Kjelbotn stood on top of the podium at the COC Finals in Klingenthal. Andersen finished 4.5 seconds ahead of teammate Thomas Kjelbotn who took another second place to finish his season. Laurent Muhlethaler from France completed the podium with the third position, 14.1 seconds after Andersen.
As the wind got stronger and stronger in the course of the jumping round, it was not possible to finish the first round of jumping and the jury decided to use Friday’s PCR. Czech Republic’s youngster Ondrej Pazout had taken the victory with a jump of 131 metres. 123 points gave him the win and an eleven second head start on Laurent Muhlethaler from France who had landed at 129.5. In changing conditions, German Tobias Simon captured rank three with 127.5 metres and 117 points which put him 25 seconds behind Pazout.
A leading group of six athletes formed after the first lap of the race containing Germans Tobias Haug and Tobias Simon, Frenchman Laurent Muhlethaler, Norwegians Thomas Kjelbotn and Espen Andersen as well as Ondrej Pazout who tried to hang on to the leaders but ultimately had to let go and finished on the twelfth position.
While Tobias Simon also lost contact to the leaders in the course of the race, a group of fast skiers approached from behind: Truls Johansen skied a fast race from position 26 and brought Italy’s Raffaele Buzzi with him who had started on the 17th position. Fast Austrians Bernhard Flaschberger and Paul Gerstgraser also made up a lot of time from the 42nd and 43rd position and with the second-fastest and fastest race time (22:57.9 for the 10 km), they moved to the final positions 17 and 16.
Meanwhile, the fight for the victory was on in the top group. As yesterday, Espen Andersen had the best last lap and took a comfortable victory over his teammate Thomas Kjelbotn. Laurent Muhlethaler took his first COC podium with the third rank, beating out Tobias Haug from Germany for the third position. Truls Johansen sprinted to a fifth position, leaving the six place to Italy’s Raffaele Buzzi.
In the overall, Martin Fritz took the victory with 705 points. Ranks two and three went to his Austrian teammates Harald Lemmerer (576) and Lukas Greiderer (512).