Despite it being a home event for Nordic Combined powerhouse nation Germany in Oberwiesental, athletes from other nations stole the spotlight in the two-competition weekend to kick off the 2017 Summer Grand Prix season.
Both days, legend and local hero Eric Frenzel was in the hunt for the win, but both days, his efforts fell just short of the top spot on the podium.
In the Team Sprint, Miroslav Svorak (CZE) out-sprinted Frenzel to claim the victory. He and teammate Tomas Portyk celebrated their first-ever Summer Grand Prix victory, while Frenzel and teammate Fabian Riessle settled for second place. The young German team of Vinzenz Geiger and Jakob Lange took third place, 11.2 seconds off the pace.
The jumping round was close between all athletes as nine teams started within one minute of each other, setting up a thrilling roller ski race for the spectators. A lead group of seven stayed together until the final lap when the young Czech team made its move and hung on for the surprise victory.
The next day the best jumper in the field, Austrian Mario Seidl, earned a clear victory, crossing the line 10.5 seconds ahead of Frenzel. Reissle finished in third place 12.3 seconds behind.
Seidl’s jump of 106 metres for 130.1 points gave him pole position in the race, four seconds ahead of Japan’s Akito Watabe. The duo worked together in the race to fend off the speedy Germans, who started more than 30 seconds behind, but at the 7 km mark of the race, Watabe could not keep up the pace as Seidl headed out on his own and held onto the lead for the last 3 km.
Seidl is now the owner of the yellow Summer Grand Prix leader bib and got to keep his best jumper bib as well. The action continues today in Tschagunns (AUT) before two weekend competitions in Oberstdorf (GER).