Richard Freitag wins at the Bergisel
Only winners in Innsbruck: While Richard Freitag took the first win for Germany at the 4-Hills-Tournament in more than 12 years, Stefan Kraft came in second and made the next step towards winning the overall title. In front of more than 22 000 fans two legends came in third.
Richard Freitag jumped on 133.5 m and 132 m and won ahead of Stefan Kraft with 278.5 points. Freitag said on Austrian TV: “This is very good for us Germans and for myself. I saw what Kraft showed in the first round, then I had to remain calm.” German head coach Werner Schuster was happy: “He made two really great jumps today, with a telemark beyond the hill size. It was a big relief today, recently it hasn't been easy. You can do well on every hill, but if you jump bad you can win nowhere. The goals for Bischofshofen remain the same. We want to be on the podium and some of our athletes can still achieve their career-best result in the 4-Hills-Tournament.”
Kraft with hill record
After the first round, in which Kraft set a new hill record on the Bergisel with 137 m, both shared the first place. With 127 m Kraft scored 273.5 points. He said to Austrian TV afterwards: “This is an awesome day, almost as great as in Oberstdorf. I haven't won the 4-Hills-Tournament yet, we will see that in the evening of January 6th.”
With 263.7 points Simon Ammann and Noriaki Kasai shared the third place. Ammann posted jumps on 132 m and 130.5 m, 42-year-old Kasai landed at 128.5 m and 132 m. Kasai: “It's unbelievable. I wanted to win, because it's my mother's birthday today.”
In front of his home crowd Gregor Schlierenzauer came in fifth. The record World Cup winner jumped on 127 m and 129.5 m for 262.4 points. World Cup leader Michael Hayboeck finished sixth with 257.5 points. Double Olympic Champion Kamil Stoch was seventh (252.8 points), 3.4 points behind, ski flying World Champion Severin Freund finished eighth. Freund said: “It's not my favorite hill, today I did only well in the first round. But in general it's getting better in every competition. It's extremely important for the team that Richard won today. Bischofshofen is a totally different hill and I like it. We have to use the training tomorrow to adjust to the conditions there and then hopefully achieve a better result in the qualification.”
Jacobsen and Koudelka in Top 10 - Prevc loses 4-Hills
Anders Jacobsen, who won in Garmisch, was ninth with 248.8 points, Roman Koudelka finished tenth. The dream of the overall title is probably over for Peter Prevc after his eleventh place in Innsbruck, while the 12th place was a success for Johann Andre Forfang. Prevc said: “The competition today was very intense for me. In the first round the conditions were not good and I was very disappointed. The second round went a bit better for me.”
The Polish team achieved the best result of this season. Besides Kamil Stoch also Piotr Zyla, Dawid Kubacki and Aleksander Zniszczol could do well and came in 13th, 22nd and 28th. Stephan Leyhe showed yet another strong performance and came in 15th behind his teammate Marinus Kraus. The same applies for Dimitry Vassiliev, who came in on a good 16th place. Jarkko Maeaettae was the best Finn in 20th, Ronan Lamy Chappuis scored points for the French team in 25th.
Kraft almost there
With a total of 835.4 points, Stefan Kraft now has a lead of 23.1 points over his teammate Michael Hayboeck before the final event in Bischofshofen. Peter Prevc follows 6.3 points behind Hayboeck, Noriaki Kasai is now fourth with 797.7 points, Richard Freitag moved up to fifth with 791.7 points.
More statements about the competition:
Simon Ammann: “I can really live with this third place. Noriaki is a real gentleman. He jumped after me when we shared the win in Ruka and today and he knows exactly what to do so I'm satisfied as well. For it's important that I was rewarded today. I was jumping aggressively. The first jump could have been better but if you attack in the final and end up on the podium it's a great reward. The result is okay, I was really happy that I shared the third place with Noriaki.”
Stefan Kraft: “It is one of the best second place you can wish for. I extended the lead in the overall ranking, was second in a World Cup and all that at home. It's awesome. It's never easy on the Bergisel, the atmosphere is amazing. But it's also good being nervous. I'm really looking forward to Bischofshofen, many fans will e there.”
Noriaki Kasai: “I'm in a relatively good shape at this 4-HIlls-Tournament. I started well and I actually wanted to win today because it is the birthday of my late mother. I will try to do that in Bischofshofen now.”
Werner Schuster about Noriaki Kasai: “He was already jumping very well in training. At his age he doesn't make every jump and he does it very well. The slight head wind is extremely good for him and he has a strong system in the air. He pushed the limits, this would have been unimaginable 10 or 15 years ago. Hopefully he won't be jumping when he is 60, because then we'll get the same image as Golf.”
Richard Freitag: “I was not aware of the historic aspect. It was unbelievable. The feeling you have when you stand down in that stadium in front of this huge crowd is incredible. I was satisfied with my jump, everything worked well. When it was confirmed that I won it was an emotional explosion. It was fun. The footsteps of Sven Hannawald are still way too big for me. I tried to do my best. But it's an honor to be compared to him. Tomorrow I would like to read: “YEAH! Amazing atmosphere in the stadium in Innsbruck.” Bischofshofen will be a challenge for me. It's a great hill, but it's not easy to jump there.”
Werner Schuster: “Realistically speaking the expectation for Richard were a bit too high before the start of the 4-Hills, because he couldn't be in such a good shape yet. After the good second jump in Garmisch and the good training here he was more relaxed and this helped him to be successful in the competition. Severin's jumps are not as consistent as they were before Christmas. This is not criticism, it's something he has to work on. This win is vey important for Richard. He is in an important phase of his personality development. He is more open and has more fun with the audience. On such smaller hills he is extremely hard to beat. Today's competition was at the limit. It's remarkable that Richard was able to show a telemark at this distance. It was even more difficult for Kraft and Hayboeck. Richard wouldn't have shown a telemark at 137 m or 138 m. This is the luck and opportunity that you have seize and he did that today. It will be more difficult for Richard in Bischofshofen, the hill there is more for flyers. It should be good for Severin. On a good day a podium result is possible. We want to end the 4-Hills on a positive note.”