Kokslien/Graabak sprint to victory in Ramsau
Norwegian day in Ramsau am Dachstein
It was a Norwegian day in Ramsau am Dachstein! The first Team Sprint of the season is history and Team Norway I took the victory. Mikko Kokslien and Jørgen Graabak finished the race 8,2 seconds ahead of Team Norway II (Klemetsen/Krog). Rank three went to the team from Italy consisting of Samuel Costa and Alessandro Pittin who finished 8,8 seconds after the winners.
In the ski jumping part, Estonia's Team I surprisingly bested the competition and claimed their place in the leader board. Karl-August Tiirmaa and Kristjan Ilves showed two excellent jumps of 94 metres each and claimed the lead with a joint point value of 254. Team Japan I (Hideaki Nagai and Akito Watabe) followed only one second behind on the cross-country track with an a accumulated point sum of 253,5. Only another second behind their fellow countrymen, Team Japan II went out on Ramsau's cross-country track. Yoshito Watabe and Taihei Kato jumped 94 and 94,5 metres which gave them 252,8 points.
The longest jump of the day went to Russia's Evgeniy Klimov once more. Russia's rising Nordic Combined hope showed 98 metres but had trouble to land and therefore received a lower point score from the judges for his long jump. The other jumping "experts"in the field also showed their prowess once more: Christoph Bieler won the first group of jumpers with 93,5 metres (130,4 p.), Haavard Klemetsen the second group (96,5 m; 131,2 p.). Both athletes from team Japan II jumped from one gate lower as per coach request, both reached 95% of hillsize and and were awarded the compensation points.
In the tight cross-country race, all 21 teams went out on the track within a time difference of only one minute and 33 seconds, the first ten teams started within 24 seconds. In the tight, action-packed race, the crowds saw multiple crashes, breaking poles and a fight for the top positions until the end. The winning Norwegian team was able to open up a gap on the last leg of "Mr. Ramsau": Strong skier Mikko Kokslien, who also managed to stand on the podium two times in the last winter, sent his teammate Jørgen Graabak on his last 1,5 kilometres with a comfortable advantage.
Behind this team, the fight for positions was on and on the home stretch, Team Norway II with Klemetsen and Krog were the most fortunate ones. After a strong race, the Italian team claimed their first podium after a long time of mediocre results. The local heroes of team Austria II (Lukas Klapfer and Mario Stecher) had a crash with Team Japan I in the last turn onto the home stretch and lost a possible home podium place.
The team of Estonia who had been in the lead after the ski jumping part did not ski a strong race and finally finished 18th. The fastest time on the track went to team USA I. Bryan Fletcher and Todd Lodwick skied the 2x7,5 kilometres in 33:58.3 and improved an intermediate 14th to a final 4th rank.
For Sunday, an Individual Gundersen race is on schedule. The ski jumping competition round will start at 10:30, the race at 14:45.