Strong Frenzel victory in Lillehammer
Nordic Combined superstar Eric Frenzel has grabbed the victory in the second Individual Gundersen competition in Lillehammer today. The German finished a whopping 52 seconds earlier than Magnus Krog from Norway. They were joined on the podium by Japan's Akito Watabe who crossed the finish line 52,6 seconds after Frenzel.
Russian jumping expert Evgeniy Klimov returned after he did not compete on the small hill yesterday, and he was back with vengeance. With 134,5 metres, he received a total of 139,5 points giving him rank one after the jumping part. Hot on his heels was World Champion and World Cup overall winner Eric Frenzel who bounced back after a non ideal jump yesterday and went 135 metres (138 p.). He followed Klimov out on the cross-country track just eight seconds after the Russian. Norwegian jumping sensation Haavard Klemetsen lived up to his reputation and delivered 130 metres (131,2 p.) which meant +0:33 on the cross-country track.
In the generally snowy conditions, the Norwegian team placed two more starters in the Top Ten: Magnus Krog ranked an intermediate fourth, teammate Jan Schmid fifth. Watabe set himself up with another promising sixth place but had to work hard in the cross-country race as his time behind was 56 seconds on Klimov. Young Czech Tomas Portyk secured another Top Ten result after the ski jumping part, as well as fellow young athletes Marjan Jelenko (SLO) and Mario Seidl from Austria (7th, 9th and 10th).
Before the competition round started today, a qualification round wwas won by Klemetsen, ahead of Portyk and Frenzel. Among the unlucky ones who did not make it into the competition were Fabian Riessle and Björn Kircheisen as well as Ilkka Herola, Taylor Fletcher and Magnus Moan. Norway's Jørgen Graabak was saved due to his pre-qualified status as a member of the World Cup Top Ten.
In the cross-country race, Frenzel soon overtook leader Klimov and did not look back. Seemingly unimpressed by the soft track and snowfall, the German powered around the course to a secure win, almost a minute ahead of his closest adversary Magnus Krog. Krog, who started from a fourth place had to defend his silver rank against a dangerous Watabe who skied a smart race and almost caught up with the Norwegian on the home stretch.
The Norwegian team pleased the home crowd by entering the Top Ten in full force. Graabak stormed to a strong fourth place, Schmid and Klemetsen hung on to ranks eight and nine and Mikko Kokslien was once again the master of the new Birkebeineren cross-country venue by setting the fastest time with 28.46.5, improving an intermediate 30th rank to a final seventh one.
The American team also bounced back from their poor season start, claiming ranks ten and eleven with Bryan Fletcher and veteran Todd Lodwick. Yesterday's winner Jason Lamy Chappuis finished sixth.
For the overall this means, Frenzel takes back the yellow bib, now leading with 226 points over Jason Lamy Chappuis with 185 and Jørgen Graabak with 180 points.