Germany takes back Team Sprint throne
After yesterday's Norwegian gala performance, Team Germany II struck back today, claiming the top spot on the podium ahead of Norway II and Germany I. Edelmann/Riessle crossed the finish line 0.4 seconds ahead the runners-up Kokslien/Graabak. The third rank went to Rydzek/Frenzel with a lag of 2.1 seconds.
On the jumping hill, the Austrian team I consisting of Bieler and Gruber was the strongest. With two great jumps of 114.5 and 112.5 metres, the Austrian veterans claimed a 26-second head start over France (Lacroix/Lamy Chappuis) who showed 110 and 110.5 metres (248.9 p.). They were followed by Team Japan I (Nagai/Kato) which accumulated 247.8 points, closely followed by Edelmann/Riessle with 247.7 and the same time behind for the race.
Norway I wsa also a threat, especially Magnus Moan with a jump of 110.5 metres which gave them a start only 29 seconds back. Lightning-fast skiers Taylor Fletcher and Bill Demong from the USA and dominator Eric Frenzel with partner Johannes Rydzek were lying in wait 31 and 32 seconds after the leaders.
In beautiful sunny weather, the masses of spectators in Chaux-Neuve saw an exciting cross-country race from start to finish. It took three laps for the pursuers France I, Germany I and USA I to catch up with the leaders from Austria, but after that a big leading group of six teams (Austria I, France I, Japan I, Germany II, Norway I and USA I) stayed together for most of the race. On the second-to-last lap, Norway II and Italy I also caught up with the lead group.
In an action-packed last lap, nobody broke away until a slight collision between Magnus Moan and Jason Lamy Chappuis on the hill leading to the stadium. Team Germany II with Fabian Riessle took the chance to slip by Moan and go first on the home stretch. Norway's Joergen Graabak was defeated in a finish line sprint by a hair. The fight for third was also close with Germany II with Eric Frenzel edging Magnus Moan. The local heroes from France finished fifth.
Next up for the Nordic Combined is the first major highlight of the season. The Nordic sports world will look to Seefeld for the premiere of the Nordic Combined TRIPLE. The first competition is on Friday with a one-jump, 5-km Prologue leading into a 1-jump, 10 km Individual Gundersen on Saturday. The big finale will be a 2-jump, 15 km competition on Sunday before the first TRIPLE winner is crowned.