A wind chill of -20°C (actual temperature -14°C) and slight snowfall provided for wintery conditions during the qualification for the first of two World Cup competitions in Nizhny Tagil (RUS). Poland's Piotr Zyla earned the prize money of CHF 3000,-, he was followed by rising star Ryoyu Kobayashi of Japan and Norway's Johann Andre Forfang.
The qualification in Nizhny Tagil was basically a confirmation of the previous results this winter. The athletes, who were among the best in Wisla and Kuusamo, also presented themselves in a great shape in Russia. With the positive exception of the Norwegians and the negative exception of Russia's Evgeniy Klimov. After this fantastic win at the opener in Wisla, he seems to be unable to follow up on his performances this summer and in Wisla right now.
The situation is totally different for the Norwegians around Johann Andre Forfang (3rd) and Robert Johansson (7th). Slowly but surely, the Vikings are closing the gap to the top. This is also proven by the 11th place of youngster Sondre Ringen.
Overall World Cup winner Kamil Stoch of Poland is still very consistent, he was fourth in today's qualification. The jumps of the Pole seem to be more stable than usual this early in the season.
Finland's Antti Aalto finished fifth in the qualification, Domen Prevc confirmed his strong shape, that earned him two fourth places in Ruka.
Best German was Stephan Leyhe in ninth. The team is still jumping very well, even if Karl Geiger and Andreas Wellinger, 47th and 49th today, didn't live up to their potential in the qualification. Both can be expected to perform better tomorrow.
Daniel Huber was the best of the Austrians in 12th.
The competition starts on Saturday at 3:45 pm CET.