The Organisers of the 2019 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Seefeld (AUT) had a full operational test last weekend when they hosted the fifth edition of the Nordic Combined Triple together with the FIS Cross-Country World Cup.
The Nordic Combined Triple, as part of the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup presented by Viessmann, crowned a new king. Japan’s Akito Watabe is only the second athlete to win the Triple in its five-year history, following in Eric Frenzel's (GER) footsteps after four consecutive victories.
The Triple, which is the season highlight of the Nordic Combined season and traditionally staged in Seefeld, features three competitions in three days that sees the field narrowed down each day while the race distances increase. Watabe dominated all three competitions and cruised to the victory over the final day’s 15 km distance. He finished 1:14 ahead of Jarl Riiber (NOR), who climbed into second place. Fabian Riessle (GER) took third place in the prestigious event.
FIS Nordic Combined Race Director Lasse Ottesen commented, “Seefeld is like a second home for the Nordic Combined family. We always look forward to coming here for our season highlight. They go above and beyond to make the weekend memorable for all the participants and fans.”
As part of the FIS Cross-Country World Cup presented by Viessmann which returned to Seefeld for the first time since 1999, the venue hosted sprint and mass start competitions for ladies and men.
Saturday’s sprint had something for everyone as Johannes Hoesflot Klaebo (NOR) continued to dominate the standings with another convincing victory. In the ladies’ race it was upstart Laurien Van der Graaf (SUI) stunning the field with her second career World Cup victory as the sprint podiums for the ladies’ continue to be anyone’s guess this season.
Sunday’s 10 km mass start race went to Jessica Diggins (USA) who waited until the last lap to make her move, surging ahead on the last climb to put her name in books as one to watch for Olympic gold. Dario Cologna (SUI) won the men’s 15 km race also waiting until the last hill to pull ahead of the competition. Despite the win, Cologna still trails Klaebo in the overall World Cup standings by 159 points.
FIS Cross-Country Race Director Pierre Mignerey said: “After our coordination visits for the 2019 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships we had very high expectations for these test events and I am happy to say that Seefeld lived up to those expectations. The athletes enjoyed the courses and the fan support during the full weekend was promising. We are all looking forward to the World Championships next year.”