Surprise victory in Oberwiesenthal: Dvorak/Portyk on top
The first event of the Summer Grand Prix 2017 ended in a veritable surprise: Miroslav Dvorak outsprinted legend and local hero Eric Frenzel on the final stretch of the Team Sprint in Oberwiesenthal. 0.3 seconds separated Dvorak and teammate Tomas Portyk from Frenzel and Rießle, who had to be satisfied with the second position today. The young German team of Vinzenz Geiger and Jakob Lange stepped onto the bronze step of the podium, +11.2 seconds behind the winners.
Even though Akito Watabe mastered the Fichtelbergschanze best today and set a new hill record of 107 metres, it was the duo of Franz-Josef Rehrl and Mario Seidl that decided the jumping part of the event in their favour. A total of 247.1 points after two jumps of 103 and 99.5 metres gave the Austrians a narrow 5-second-lead on Team “Erzgebirge”.
The local heroes Björn Kircheisen and Terence Weber delighted the numerous spectators who had found the way to see a sunny event with two jumps of 104 and 95 metres. 244.4 points meant the second intermediate position. Combined with his teammate Hideaki Nagai’s jump of 96.5 metres, Akito Watabe reached the start position three for the race and had to make up 10 seconds in the race. Just one second behind was Team Czech Republic I (Dvorak/Portyk) and also their young teammates Lukas Danek and Ondrej Pazout shone with 98.5 and 100 metres and the intermediate position seven (+0:27).
In total, nine teams started within one minute, which promised a tight, exciting race. Watched with suspense was the team starting from position eight as it contained local hero and legend Eric Frenzel with his teammate Fabian Rießle. They started 31 seconds after the leader but were definitely big contenders for the victory of the day.
The race did not disappoint. While the first laps had only four teams in the lead, including Austria I, Germany III and Japan I and Czech Republic I more teams closed the gap a little into the race. At halfway point, the lead had extended to seven alternating teams with Germany II, Finland I and Germany I joining the fray. The young Czech team II skied a courageous race but had to let go of the leading group due to a broken pole on the uphill.
The big leading group of seven athletes stayed together until the very last lap, when Fabian Rießle attacked and Eric Frenzel skated off the market square in the first position. But Dvorak did not let up and pursued the five time World Cup overall winner. Catching up and resting in the downhills, Dvorak closed the small gap and Frenzel and he had it out on the final stretch. To the surprise of many and to the delight of the numerous Czech fans, who had crossed the close-by border to see the event, Dvorak succeeded and claimed the first Czech victory in many years.
Behind the leading duo, youngster Vinzenz Geiger had a phenomenal last lap and secured the third place for himself and his teammate Jakob Lange. Rehrl/Seidl finished fourth, as last year, local heroes Weber/Kircheisen fifth and Finns Herola/Hirvonen sixth.