Akito Watabe with glorious season end in Schonach
After yesterday’s Schwarzwaldpokal victory, Akito Watabe simply kept on winning and took home the win of the day in the Final Individual Gundersen event and the crystal globe for the overall World Cup victory. Watabe duelled with Norway’s Jarl Riiber again and crossed the finish line 5.1 seconds ahead of the 20-year-old today. Fabian Rießle set his second home podium in Schonach with rank three today by crossing the finish line 48.1 seconds after Watabe.
Jarl Magnus Riiber dazzled with an amazing jump pf 107 metres in the second round. Only a missing telemark stopped the Norwegian from leading with a bigger margin after a first round attempt of 101.5 metres. Akito Watabe kept his chances for a double victory very much alive on the second place. The World Cup winner jumped 97 and 102.5 metres and started only nine seconds after Riiber.
Between the leading duo and the next group, a bigger gap had opened up. Yoshito Watabe was the first to follow his brother on the track, starting 54 seconds after the winner with two jumps of 100 and 97.5 metres. Fabian Rießle had his home crowd roaring with jumps of 95.5 and 100 metres and claimed a very promising fourth position and started his race with a delay of 58 seconds.
Eero Hirvonen and Bernhard Grubers started into their 15 kilometres with delays of one minute and 38 and 39 seconds respectively. Jørgen Graabak had one minute and 52 seconds to make up and the “master of the 15 km” Eric Frenzel started with a disadvantage of two minutes and 20 seconds in the good company of fast skiers Johannes Rydzek and Ilkka Herola on ranks 21 and 22 (+2:30 and +2:33).
Watabe made quick work of Riiber’s nine-second advantage and for the rest of the race, Watabe and Riiber were inseparable, with Watabe leading the way and Riiber hanging on to the dominator of the season. The frenetic cheers of the crowd pushed Fabian Rießle forward and the resident of St. Märgen managed to reduce his 58-second advantage to 13 seconds at the 12.5 km mark but he did not have enough fuel left in the tank to attack a superb Riiber and Watabe.
In the end, Watabe outsprinted Riiber on the final stretch and Rießle took the time to celebrate with his home crowd before coming into the finish. Behind the podium athletes, Jørgen Graabak skied an extremely strong race and improved his start position 12 to a final fourth rank, +1:19.4 behind Watabe. Lukas Greiderer achieved a new career best with position five.
Jan Schmid defended his second position in the overall rankings with rank six, Eero Hirvonen and Ilkka Herola were a Finnish duo on positions seven and eight and veterans Willi Denifl and Bernhard Gruber ended their seasons with a Top Ten result as well.
Watabe won his first-ever crystal globe with 1495 points, Jan Schmid finished his season with 1133 and Fabian Rießle was the best German with 1087 points. In the Nations Cup, Norway wrestled the trophy from Germany with a total of 5033 points. Akito Watabe was the best jumper of the season (1447 points) and Alessandro Pittin cemeted his reputation as the fastest skier with the Best Skier Trophy win with 1421 points.