Fabian Rießle climbed up the last step on the podium in Ramsau am Dachstein and set his sixth World Cup victory. In a finish line sprint, he beat Italian Alessandro Pittin, who rose like phoenix from the ashes and set his first podium result in two years. With the third place, Finland's Eero Hirvonen achieved his third podium result this winter, finishing +1.5 seconds after the winner.
As snowy conditions and very changing winds made the a regular jumping round impossivle, the PCR had to be used in the second Individual Gundersen event in Ramsau am Dachstein, Austria. This put Olympic Champion Jørgen Graabak in the, for him, unusual position to start a race as the leader. He had jumped 98 metres on Friday and had a total tally of 121.1 points. His jump gave him a one second head start on a duo on rank two.
After a 104.5-metre stunner in the cancelled competition round, teammate Jarl Riiber was not fully unhappy with the PCR being taken into account as well, as it put him in second place with only one second of time behind. Sharing this starting position was young German Luis Lehnert, who started into his second World Cup competition right among the best Nordic Combined athletes in the world.
Local hero Franz-Josef Rehrl, who starts for the club Ramsau-Steiermark, held the fourth position and started five seconds after Graabak to the delight of the home crowd. Teammate Lukas Klapfer was just one second behind. Yesterday’s second-placed Fabian Rießle had big chances for another top result again with starting position nine and only 18 seconds to make up on Graabak. Also still in the contention was Eero Hirvonen with 20 seconds of delay and Johannes Rydzek and yesterday’s winner Eric Frenzel, who started at +0:42 and +0:54.
The race started with Jørgen Graabak and Jarl Riiber starting together but by the 2.5 kilometre point, the pursuers had caught up with the leading duo. Eight athletes stayed together for most of the race and even though the group was not always in agreement of who should do the leading work, Graabak, Hirvonen and Schmid alternated and pushed the pace.
Nevertheless, similar to yesterday the pursuers gained ground and especially Johannes Rydzek worked hard to close the gap. Fast skiers Rydzek and Pittin found each other around the midway point of the race and continued the hunt for the leaders together. Going out on the last lap, this fast duo had closed the gap. While some oft the eight members of the leading group had to let go in the meantime, it was still Hirvonen, Graabak, Schmid, Rießle, Geiger and Klapfer, who held on.
On the way down into the stadium, Rießle and Pittin managed to open a gap to the other athletes and fought for the victory in a finish line sprint. This time, it was Rießle’s day and he beat Pittin by 0.3 seconds. Behind the two, a slighly surprised Eero Hirvonen recovered quickly from the attack of the two and secured the third position.
Jan Schmid finished fourth and took the yellow bib from teammate Espen Andersen, who had a tough day after his starting position 37 from the PCR. He finished 24th in the end. Johannes Rydzek and Jørgen Graabak had to be satisfied with ranks five and six. Vinzenz Geiger shone with another great result in position seven, Lukas Klapfer upheld the Austrian honour on position eight. Ilkka Herola and Francois Braud completed the Top Ten.