Maiden win for Vinzenz Geiger in his home town
The spectators in Oberstdorf saw a local hero win today but unlike so many times in the past, it was not Johannes Rydzek today. Younger teammate Vinzenz Geiger followed Ilkka Herola’s example from Villach and set his first victory on the highest competition level of Nordic Combined in his home town. A fabulous roller-ski race had Geiger cross the finish line 2.4 seconds ahead of Mario Seidl, who will now wear the yellow bib of the SGP leader. Akito Watabe finished on the third rank, crossing the finish line 7.6 seconds after the winner.
Watabe had won the jumping part with a jump of 137 metres and 154.6 points earlier in the day. His pole position spot meant a 17-second head start on Seidl, who had landed at the 138.5 metre mark. Franz-Josef Rehrl jumped to 132 metres from start gate 19 and was rewarded with 147.7 points and the third place in the start grid for his efforts. He started the race 28 seconds after Watabe.
The longest jump of the day, 141.5 metres, just two metres below hill record, was set by PCR winner Yoshito Watabe but the Japanese was not able to stand his jump and received only 36 points from the jumping judges for his jump. He did not start the following roller-ski race anymore.
Local hero Johannes Rydzek delighted his home crowd and had a very good starting position for his race with 135 metres (142.4 p.), which translated into a start delay of 49 seconds. With this, the German seemed well set up to add to his impressive collection of podium places and victories at his home venue. Villach-winner Ilkka Herola jumped well again and started his race from rank seven, exactly one minute behind Akito Watabe.
Watabe waited for Mario Seidl to catch up in the race and so the lead was held by a duo after the first of six laps in the Audi Arena Oberstdorf, which was still well-filled in spite of heavy rain throughout the entire evening. 18 seconds later, Franz-Josef Rehrl and shortly after also Johannes Rydzek crossed the intermediate time line for the first time. Vinzenz Geiger had started from rank eight with a delay of one minute and two seconds but already reduced his time behind to 37.2 seconds on the first lap.
At the halfway point of the race, the pursuers had grown to a foursome. Herola, Rehrl, Rydzek and Geiger skied together at a distance of 26 seconds to the two leaders Seidl and Watabe. On the next lap, Geiger broke away from the group and it was only 12 second that separated him from the leaders, a gap he fully closed on the second-but-last round.
Going out on the last lap, Geiger was with Seidl and Watabe and in the end, the German emerged victorious, breaking his opponents resistance on the last long uphill. Behind the top three, Ilkka Herola left Johannes Rydzek behind, who had to be satisfied with a fifth position today. Maxime Laheurte finished sixth, Fabian Rießle seventh, Martin Fritz eighth, Thomas Jöbstl ninth (another personal best for a young athlete this summer) and Franz-Josef Rehrl ended the race on position ten.