Eric Frenzel has won his 42nd World Cup in Ramsau am Dachstein. After a mediocre season start, the 29-year-old beat teammate Fabian Rießle by 0.7 seconds. Jan Schmid continued his excellent season 2017/18 with a third rank, +8.1 seconds after Frenzel.
The jumping round was not an easy one. Even though the snowfall stopped, the wind speeds and directions were varied and athletes had to have luck on their side as well to show a top result on the hill. Taihei Kato was a self-proclaimed “lucky boy” and won the jumping round with 97 metres and a total of 125.9 points. This translated into an eight-second head start on Czech Republic’s Tomas Portyk, who showed a glimpse of his old jumping prowess. 96.5 metres gave him 124 points and four seconds on third-placed Eric Frenzel.
The German superstar returned to his rightful position, fighting for the victory, with 96 metres and 12 seconds to make up on Kato. Starting at the same time was teammate Vinzenz Geiger, who achieved his first podium result in Ramsau one year ago. Team youngster, 17-year-old Luis Lehnert continued with his impressive jumping performances and reached the fifth position, +0:17 behind Kato.
The German team had another ace gunning for the victory: fast skier Fabien Rießle had a good try of 94.5 metres and started only 17 seconds behind leader Kato. Norwegians Espen Andersen and Jan Schmid were only insignificantly further back with starting times of +0:20 and +0:26. In total, 24 athletes started within the first minute, making the race into a typical, right Ramsau-thriller.
The famous “Ramsau trains” formed also in today’s race when big groups moved together on the track. A leading group formed around Eric Frenzel, Fabian Rießle, Vinzenz Geiger and Jan Schmid on the first group that consisted of nine athletes. Also part of the group: yellow-bib bearer Espen Andersen, local hero Franz-Josef Rehrl, Tomas Portyk Taihei Kato and Jarl Magnus Riiber.
Riiber was the first one to drop off the group in the second lap, while a second bigger group around the fast skiers Magnus Moan and Jørgen Graabak had formed about 45 seconds behind the leader. But Eric Frenzel did not make it easy on this second group to catch up. Nordic Combined’s superstar was in fine form on the track and lead the group himself for most of the time.
On the third lap, Taihei Kato, Franz-Josef Rehrl and Espen Andersen lost contact to the leading athletes and also Tomas Portyk, though fighting valiantly, slowly had to let go of the leaders. The chasing group had closed the gap to 33 seconds with Moan and Bryan Fletcher making the pace.
Jan Schmid tried to force a decision on the last lap and took the lead. While he managed to shake off Vinzenz Geiger, who had to be satisfied with the fourth place in the end, Schmid was no match for Frenzel and Rießle, who passed him again and entered the stadium as second and first. On the final stretch, Frenzel proved unbeatable today and took the victory.
Akito Watabe finished fifth, Magnus Moan sixth, Bryan Fletcher returned to the Top Ten on rank seven, Tomas Portyk defended a career-best eighth position and Jørgen Graabak and Manuel Faißt completed the Top Ten.