Markus Eisenbichler won the FIS Ski Flying World Cup in Planica (SLO) on Friday afternoon with jumps of 238.5 m and 233 m (445.0 points), ahead of Ryoyu Kobayashi (438.1 points) and Piotr Zyla (437.3 points). This was the first World Cup win ever for the 28-year-old. Eisenbichler won the World Championship title on the large hill in Innsbruck in February.
It was the day of Markus Eisenbichler in Planica. The World Champion crowned his great winter with his first World Cup win. And he achieved that in his favorite event, Ski Flying, on the HS 240 in Planica. Eisenbichler ended the long drought of Germany as the last German to win a Ski Flying event was Severin Freund in 2015.
Markus Eisenbichler now leads the Ski Flying World Cup and the Planica 7 ranking. "It was a really nice competition, It's always hard to win in Ski Flying because you lose many meters with a small mistake. Today was a good day for me. After the second jump, I knew it was a good one, but there was still one guy up there who can jump really far, but fortunately, it was enough. After the first round I didn't expect to win, my goal was to defend the second place. But Ryoyu is only human and he can make mistakes too. My goal is to win the Ski Flying World Cup, this would be as important as the gold medal at the World Championships", explained the winner.
Serial winner Ryoyu Kobayashi of Japan, who won yesterday's qualification ahead of Eisenbichler, came in second today. "My first jump today was very good. I then made a small mistake in the second round, but all in all I'm happy with the performance and the result. I like the hill here and it's great that the spectators cheer for everyone. It will be very difficult to win the Ski Flying World Cup", said Kobayashi, who is now only four points behind Eisenbichler (Eisenbichler 311 points, Kobayashi 307 points).
This means that whoever is better of the two top athletes in the final event on Sunday will take this season's overall Ski Flying World Cup title.
Poland's Piotr Zyla finished third with 242 m and 234 m (437.2 points), this was the 11th World Cup podium for Zyla, who finished close behind Kobayashi, who scored 438.1 points. "I'm very happy about my jumps today, I had a lot of fun here and I'm also proud that I'm on the podium, that's always great", said the Polish crowd favorite.
The local heroes from Slovenia didn't have an athlete on the podium today, but they still achieved an extremely strong team result on the first day of Ski Flying on their home hill: Timi Zajc enthused the fans with his fourth place, Domen Prevc, who won in Vikersund last weekend, was fifth and his brother Peter tenth.
Simon Ammann could follow up on his strong performances from Vikersund and finished sixth. Especially remarkable were the very good landing of the four-time Olympic champion and the high style-marks he got. A place on the podium is within reach for Ammann on Sunday. It would be a perfect end of the season for him.
Best Norwegian was Johann Andre Forfang in eighth, Evgeniy Klimov of Russia finished on the good 11th place.
The second competition in Planica, the team event, starts on Saturday at 10 am CET. The individual competition is held on Sunday, also at 10 am.