Rydzek steals the win in Trondheim
It has been in December of 2008 when the last Nordic Combined athletes were able to call a win in Trondheim their own until today when Johannes Rydzek from Germany took the honours in the Individual Gundersen race set in the second Norwegian venue of the winter.
After a great performance he crossed the finish line 1.4 seconds ahead of local hero Joergen Graabak fwho claimed rank two. The third place went to Graabak's teammate and fellow local hero Magnus Moan who finished 10.2 seconds after Rydzek.
17-year-old rookie Tomas Portyk from the Czech Republic won his first ever ski jumping round on the large hill in Granaasen today. With 135.5 metres, Portyk accumulated 130.6 points which meant the win and 8 seconds of advantage on Austrian veteran Wilhelm Denifl who set 139.5 metres. Local hero Thomas Kjelbotn also had a really good jump of 137.5 metres and claimed the intermediate third rank, 17 seconds behind Portyk.
Overall World Cup winner Eric Frenzel again showed no signs of a weaking jumping shape, ranking fourth with 129 metres and 22 seconds of time behind on Portyk. Finland's Ilkka Herola also had a strong try and flew into an intermediate fifth position with 131.5 metres
Olympic Champion and next local hero Joergen Graabak also looked into the direction of the podium with a good jump of 131 metres, which meant 32 seconds of time behind and a absolutely promising position for the cross-country race. 5 seconds after him, last weekend's winner Johannes Rydzek from Germany was lying in wait, ready to pounce for another podium and for a little revenge for having lost out to Graabak in the Team Sprint in Lahti.
In the race, the top athletes of Nordic Combined quickly formed a bit leading group of 18 people after about half of the race with all starting World Cup top athletes in one group. On the first two of the 5 laps, a first leading group with Denifl, Frenzel, Kjelbotn and Herola had not been able to keep the following strong group containing Rydzek, Graabak and Moan at bay. So a big group formed and skied together for practically the whole race until Rydzek attacked at the last uphill. Olympic champion Graabak who is now still waiting for his first World Cup win followed but did not have the power to follow Rydzek who also had really good skis closely enough to force a finish line sprint.
In the end, Rydzek who seems to be on a winning spree now after taking his second World Cup win last weekend, following up with the third one now took the win from Graabak and also Magnus Moan who had won here in Trondheim six years ago at the last World Cup was not able to close the gap and finished third.
The German team increased their lead in the Nations Cup ranking to 3816 points now (Norway 3685) by placing five athletes in the Top Ten (Rydzek 1, Frenzel beat out Edelmann in photo finish for rank four, Faisst 8 and Kircheisen 9). Christoph Bieler and France's Francois Braud also entered the Top Ten on ranks six and seven, Bill Demong finished tenth.