Germany sweeps podium again
The summer of 2014 is developing into a showcase period for the German Ski Federation: The first competition in Oberstdorf saw a triple German victory again. Local hero Johannes Rydzek had a start finish victory, and enough time to cross the finish line waving a German flag. He finished a whopping 41.2 seconds ahead of teammate Eric Frenzel who in turn beat Björn Kircheisen for the second rank. Kircheisen finished 47.3 seconds after Rydzek.
Local hero Johannes Rydzek delighted the audience already in the ski jumping part by taking the intermediate lead with a great effort of 133.5 metres which meant 138.9 points and a 19-second-lead on teammate Eric Frenzel who jumped 131.5 metres. France’s Maxime Laheurte found back to old jumping strength by also setting 131.5 metres and started at the same time of +0:25 seconds as Austrian veteran Christoph Bieler who landed at 130 metres.
Russian jumping expert Evgeniy Klimov set the absolutely longest jump of the day with sensational 139.5 metres but wasn’t able to stand his jump. Still he ranked fifth with a time behind of 29 seconds on Rydzek. Overall runner-up Björn Kircheisen showed another great jumping effort with 128.5 metres and followed Rydzek on the track at a time behind of 0:48 seconds.
The steady downpour fell through much of the competition and continued when the Cross-Country race got underway, but it did little to dampen the German’s resolve. The rest of the pack had no chance to catch Rydzek who took full advantage of his massive head start after his strong jumping effort.
Finishing well behind Rydzek, normally around a minute off the pace, was a chasing pack of ten athletes, all of whom battled the slippery and soggy conditions and had no chance to challenge Rydzek to make up any time. The leaders of the chasing pack changed with each lap, but in the end, Frenzel and Kircheisen, perhaps motivated by the home crowd, pulled ahead to claim the last two podium spots.
Summer Grand Prix action in Oberstdorf continues tomorrow when the Final Individual Gundersen with two jumps and a 15 km race for the top 30 athletes begins at 18:00.