Gyda Westvold Hansen (NOR) will go down in the history books of Nordic Combined as the first-ever female World Champion of the discipline. Much in the style of her famous cousin Therese Johaug, Westvold Hansen dominated the event today and won by 13.8 seconds.
Her teammates, sisters Mari and Marte Leinan Lund swept the podium for Norway by finishing second and third after Mari passed her sister on the way into the stadium when she crashed. Marte crossed the finish line +28.8 seconds after the winner and defended the bronze medal by 10.9 seconds against a fast approaching Anju Nakamura (JPN).
In the ski jumping part, spectators were entertained well with long jumps: a total of five athletes jumped over 100 metres and the jumping win and attached pole position for the race was claimed by Norway’s Mari Leinan Lund. The 21-year-old jumped to incredible 107 metres and even though she was not able show a proper Telemark landing at this distance, she collected 127.8 points, enough to take a three-second lead on teammate and Junior World Champion Gyda Westvold Hansen.
Westvold Hansen showed 102.5 metres but also she struggled with the landing and therefore only claimed 127.0 points. Germany’s Svenja Würth was third with 101.5 metres (121.9 p.) and started her race 24 seconds after the two Norwegians.
Leinan Lund’s younger sister Marte claimed position four with 101 metres (+0:39) and fast Japanese skier Anju Nakamura began her race from position six with a start delay of 50 seconds, a difficult but attainable task for the 21-year-old from Hokkaido.
Title favourite Tara Geraghty-Moats from the USA had a disappointing jump of 86 metres and only ranked 18th after the jumping part. With a time behind of two minutes and 18 seconds, she would need every ounce of her considerable cross-country strength to have a shot at a good position in the finish.
Gyda Westvold Hansen started the race fast and made her title aspirations known right away. By the 1.6 km point of the race, she already had overtaken Mari Leinan Lund and was leading the race by 11.1 seconds. From that point onwards, she remained untouchable at a distance of 10 to 15 seconds ahead of the rest of the field. Behind the first two, Marte Leinan Lund and Anju Nakamura made up ground.
By the halfway point of the race, Leinan Lund was trailing her sister by eight seconds and Nakamura was little over 20 seconds behind. Marte close the gap to Mari on the last lap and actually took the lead shortly after the 4.1 km intermediate time but she crashed in the downhill into the stadium and her sister passed her again.
Nakamura was not able to catch up the last 10 missing seconds despite Marte’s mishap and so the podium remained an all-Norwegian affair. Tara Geraghty-Moats shot through the field and made up one minute and 20 seconds on her 5 km but had to be satisfied with rank five in the end.
Annika Sieff and Daniela Dejori were an Italian duo on ranks six and seven, Lisa Hirner improved to eighth, Sigrun Kleinrath was ninth and Ayane Miyazaki completed the Top Ten.