Rydzek grabs first victory after Olympics, Frenzel takes World Cup overall
In a showcase of German strength, Johannes Rydzek has taken the top spot on the podium of today's Individual Gundersen competition in Lahti today. He crossed the finish line 7 seconds ahead of his closest adversary, Akito Watabe from Japan. Rank three went to Germany's Eric Frenzel who finished 20.6 seconds after the winner in a thrilling sprint for the finish line with his teammate Tino Edelmann who was just a fraction of a second behind. With this result, Frenzel also took his second consecutive overall World Cup win. With 913 points, runner-up Akito Watabe cannot catch up anymore with a current point standing of 581 points.
In the ski jumping competition, Frenzel once more showed that he is continuously performing on the highest level in the ski jumping part: With 128.8 points (127.5 metres), he claimed rank two behind Austria's Wilhelm Denifl who lead with 128.5 metres which gave him a total point score of 130.2. The longest jump of the day came from Denifl's teammate Christoph Bieler who set 130.5 metres. With 127.4 points, this meant an intermediate rank three and 11 seconds of time behind on leader Denifl. Eric Frenzel had only six seconds to make up.
Fellow German Johannes Rydzek showed one of his best jumping performances this winter and went out onto the track only 26 seconds after Denifl, a very good position to strike. On the whole, the German team made a very strong impression: Edelmann, Riessle and Haug all placed within in the Top 11 athletes as well. Akito Watabe who still clung to the chance to go for the overall World Cup title against Frenzel ranked an intermediate sixth, 34 seconds after Denifl.
In the race, Johannes Rydzek took his heart into his hands and quickly caught up with the leading trio Denifl, Frenzel and Bieler. In an early stage of the race, he felt confident enough to leave the group behind and ski his advantage into the finish, even though Watabe who also caught up from his sixth intermediate rank, outskied Frenzel, Bieler and Edelmann on his way to rank two. Frenzel and Edelmann stayed together for long periods of the race until they had to battle out the final podium position in a thrilling sprint for the finish line. It took a photo finish to decide that Frenzel's foot was bare centimetres ahead of Edelmanns.
Fellow Germans Fabian Rießle and Björn Kircheisen also entered the Top Ten on ranks six and ten. Italy's Alessandro Pittin skied the fastest time on the track and improved his intermediate 32nd rank into a final ninth one, Christoph Bieler and Sepp Schneider gave the Austrian team two Top Ten finished with ranks five and eight. Olympic Champion Jørgen Graabak was not in the best jumping shape today but skied the second fastest time of the day and improved from rank 25 to a final seventh rank.
Tomorrow, a Team Sprint in on schedule before the athlete continue on to two more Individual Gundersen competitions in Trondheim and Oslo and finish the season with a Team Event and one more individual in Falun.