0.5 seconds separated Jarl Magnus Riiber from his closest pursuer, Ilkka Herola (FIN) in Klingenthal today. In snowy and stormy conditions, the Norwegian celebrated his tenth World Cup victory this season. Herola, in turn, beat Germany’s Fabian Rießle to the finish line, who ended his race 0.2 seconds after the Finn.
With this result, Riiber can call himself overall World Cup winner 2018/19, should the remainder of the World Cup calendar stay as scheduled for the remaining three World Cup weekends. A total of 497 points currently separate the Norwegian from closest pursuer Johannes Rydzek and only 400 more points are to be distributed in Lahti, Oslo and Schonach according to the current calendar.
In windy and snowy conditions all day long, there was not a chance to jump in Klingenthal and so Friday’s Provisional Competition Round had to be taken into account. Germany’s Manuel Faißt was the top jumper in the PCR, which was held in good conditions on Friday night.
135 metres (136.4 p.) put Faißt on top of the result list. Austrian veteran Willi Denifl claimed the second position with 137.5 metres (134.5 p.), teammate Franz-Josef Rehrl had a good jump in tough conditions and reached 129 metres (134.2 p.), rank three. Denifl and Rehrl started eight and nine seconds behind Faißt.
World Cup leader Jarl Magnus Riiber jumped to 130 metres, the intermediate fourth position with a start delay of 15 seconds but last year’s winner Fabian Rießle held a very promising starting position as well as fifth with a delay of +0:26 at the start line.
A total of 13 athletes started within the first minute of the leader. Between number six, Szczepan Kupczak (+0:32) and number 13, Leif Torbjørn Næsvold (+0:59), the distances were close for Espen Andersen, Martin Fritz, Vinzenz Geiger, Ilkka Herola, Alexander Pashaev and Einar Lurås Oftebro. Especially yesterday’s second-placed Vinzenz Geiger and yesterday’s fastest athlete Ilkka Herola were a duo to be reckoned with on ranks nine and ten, starting at +0:54.
The reigning Junior World Champions, Julian Schmid and Johannes Lamparter were among the best fifteen jumpers as well, taking positions 14 and 15. Johannes Rydzek had struggled a little more with tough conditions towards the end of the round and only ranked 22nd with a 114.5 metre jump. He had two minutes and six seconds to make up but chose to not start the race at all.
Riiber had closed the 15-second gap to the leading trio of Franz-Josef Rehrl, Manuel Faißt and Willi Denifl already after the first of five laps and the foursome tried to ski and conserve some energy in the following laps. The deep snow and tricky downhills and turns were not a good combination and quite a number of athletes took a tumble in the course of the race but the athletes in the leading group remained concentrated and on their feet. Shortly after the 3 km mark, Fabian Rießle had joined the leaders and the group grew to five.
Still none of the athletes were too keen to take the lead while Vinzenz Geiger, Martin Fritz and Eero Hirvonen were keen to establish contact to the leaders, which they succeeded with going out on the last lap. A total of eight athletes were vying for the three podium places on the narrow and twisting track in Klingenthal and in the end, only Riiber, Herola and Rießle were truly in contention after an attack on the last long uphill had Herola overtaking Riiber and going down the last descent in first position.
Coming out of the last turn first, Herola tried to fight for the victory but Riiber flew past him on his left side and entered the corridors first, Herola having to go into the middle lane behind Riiber. Rießle veered out to his right side and tried sprinting but there was no way past Riiber, who was ahead of both of his competitors. Even boxed in behind Riiber, Herola managed to cross the line ahead of Rießle, claiming his first podium result of the season and a career-best second place.
Vinzenz Geiger finished fourth, Eero Hirvonen fifth and with Franz-Josef Rehrl, Willi Denifl, Martin Fritz and Lukas Klapfer on positions six, eight, nine and ten completed a good Austrian team result. PCR winner Manuel Faißt ended his race on position seven.