Roman Koudelka takes his first win this season
Roman Koudelka won the first of two individual competitions in Wisla. The Czech, fifth after the first round, celebrated his first win this season in the Polish fog ahead of Kenneth Gangnes and Noriaki Kasai with 127.5 m and 133 m and 269.0 points.
Koudelka also benefited from the decision of his coach: He lowered the gate, what earned his athlete compensation points and his fifth win in the World Cup. The Czech was relieved afterwards: "It was a hard competition and not easy for me. I was starting from one gate lower, but I remained calm. This was my first World Cup win this season and I'm very happy that I could achieve that in front of such a big crowd in Poland. My next big goal is an Olympic medal."
Koudelka also ended the chase of overall World Cup winner Peter Prevc, who had a bit of bad luck with the conditions and a not so perfect jump on 124 m in the first round and was only 13th after the first half of the competition. In the final the Slovene jumped on 131.5 m and the later winner was the first, who was better than him in the second round.
Gangnes best Norwegian
Kenneth Gangnes was the leader of an again impressive Norwegian team. With jumps on 127.5 m and 130 m he came in only one point behind Koudelka. Gangnes said: ""I'm really happy about my performance today. The atmosphere here is fantastic, it's different than everywhere else. I didn't feel very good before this weekend and I was struggling a bit. But maybe there's something special about this hill that I'm always jumping so well here. Of course I always want to win, but if I'm on the podium again tomorrow I will also be satisfied."
Noriaki Kasai had jumps on 128.5 m and 134 m for 265.4 points and also benefited from the mistakes of the competition. Richard Freitag, who had consistently strong jumps in training and was third after the first round, couldn't follow up on these performances in the final and finished only ninth.
Kasai told later: "It's a pleasure to be on the podium here in Wisla, but it's already my fifth third place this season so I'm not totally satisfied. I'm close to my 500th individual World Cup competition and I wish that I can win this 500th competition."
Johann Andre Forfang was even in the lead after the first round with a jump on 131.5 m. In the final he wasn't able to confirm this performance despite good conditions and came in fourth overall with 262.8 points.
Freund behind Prevc again
With 260.3 points, Severin Freund finished 0.7 points behind his Slovenian rival Peter Prevc. After he was struggling with the hill in Wisla before, the World Champion can still be satisfied with the competition. Daniel Andre Tande was the third Norwegian in the Top 10 in seventh with 257.0 points. Michael Hayboeck was the best Austrian in eighth with 255.7 points, while his roommate Stefan Kraft had a disappointing evening in 21st.
Polish team okay
Kamil Stoch could make amends for a bad season so far in front of his home crowd in tenth, behind Richard Freitag, with 254.8 points. Also Stefan Hula, Piotr Zyla, Maciej Kot and Dawid Kubacki did okay in the second-to-last home event for head coach Lukasz Kruczek in 16th, 18th,19th and 20th. Anders Fannemel and Andreas Stjernen in 11th and 12th proved the Norwegian dominance impressively, Robert Kranjec came in on a good 13th place. Taku Takeuchi and Andreas Wank completed the Top 15.
Vincent Descombes Sevoie can also be satisfied again with his 22nd place and some World Cup points for France. Simon Ammann finished 28th and probably awaits the end of the season, Mackenzie Boyd-Clowes was 30th and achieved a small success for the Canadian team.
The second competition in Wisla starts on Saturday at 4:00 pm CET.