With his third victory in three days, Jarl Magnus Riiber took the clear win in the Lillehammer Tour on the final day that featured an Individual Gundersen 10 km competition.
Riiber beat his rivals clearly by 35.8 seconds at the finish line. Teammate Jørgen Graabak stormed to the second place that brought him the third place in the Lillehammer Tour Ranking as well. Eric Frenzel took the second place in the Lillehammer Tour. He finished on rank eleven today, while teammate Johannes Rydzek claimed the remaining spot of the podium of the day. He improved from rank 17 to the third position and finished +36.6 seconds after Riiber.
Jarl Magnus Riiber remained the man to beat also on large hill and while many of his competitors struggled with conditions turning from slight head to tail wind and back, Riiber jumped to 129.5 metres (122.7 p.) and a clear lead of 21 seconds on runner-up Franz-Josef Rehrl from Austria. Japan’s Go Yamamoto showed 128.5 metres and with 115.8 points, he started his race from the third position, with a delay of 28 seconds. Only 0.1 points behind Yamamoto, Norwegian youngster Einar Lurås Oftebro impressed with yet another good jumping result and the same starting time as Yamamoto.
The Japanese and Norwegian were followed by their teammates Espen Bjørnstad (+0:35), Yoshito Watabe (+0:39) and Akito Watabe (+0:49). Poland’s Szczepan Kupczak, Martin Fritz and Jørgen Graabak completed the jumping top ten, and started their races between +0:58 and +1:01.
While the Norwegian team had an extraordinarily good day on the hill with Harald Riiber, Jan Schmid, Leif Torbjørn Næsvold and Jens Lurås Oftebro all in the Top 20, the last day of the Lillehammer Tour shaped up to be a black day for Team Germany at first. Best German was Johannes Rydzek, who ranked 17th with a time behind of one minute and 41 seconds.
On the track, Riiber was never in any danger to lose his lead and skied a fast but controlled race at the front. The big action of today’s race happened behind him when a bigger group of athletes formed to hash out the positions two and three between them.
At first, Austrian Franz-Josef Rehrl, who still had hopes for a Lillehammer Tour podium position, had skied together with Go Yamamoto and Einar Lurås Oftebro but by the 5 km point of the race, Akito Watabe, Jørgen Graabak, Espen Bjørnstad and Martin Fritz closed the gap, along with Jan Schmid. Johannes Rydzek worked tirelessly to close the gap as well and just as the German had accomplished this feat, nobody in the group wanted to do the leading work, so all athletes were able to recuperate with low speed.
The situation remained the same until the last part of the lap when Graabak made his attack. He chose the moment well, fellow fast skier Johannes Rydzek was a little further behind in the group and not able to follow instantly. In the end, Graabak finished before the German, who was still overjoyed to walk away with a podium result. Akito Watabe ended the race on rank four again, +43.1 seconds behind Riiber, Martin Fritz celebrated a career-best fifth place. Espen Bjørnstad, Franz-Josef Rehrl, Jan Schmid, Magnus Krog and Go Yamamoto occupied the remaining Top 10 spots.