Ryoyu Kobayashi is the king of Innsbruck. The Japanese also won the third competition of the 67th 4-Hills-Tournament. The 22-year-old was in a league of his own on the Bergisel-hill in Innsbruck and took a clear win ahead of Stefan Kraft of Austria and Norway's Andreas Stjernen.
The fight for the overall title at the final in Bischofshofen between Ryoyu Kobayashi and Markus Eisenbichler of Germany, that many had hoped for, is probably not going to happen. Now it's Ryoyu Kobayashi against the myth because with a lead of more than 40 points it seems almost impossible that this winter's highflyer will not win the 4-Hills-Tournament.
If the Japanese will also win the fourth event of the Tournament, he will be the third ski jumper after Sven Hannawald 2002 and Kamil Stoch 2018, to win the Grand Slam at the 4-Hills-Tournament.
Markus Eisenbichler could not keep up with Kobayashi today. The Bavarian finished 13th in Innsbruck and lost more than 40 points compared to Kobayashi. In the overall ranking, Eisenbichler is still in the great second place.
The third win at this 4-Hills-Tournament was never in jeopardy for Ryoyu Kobayashi. With 136.5 m he posted the longest jump of the day already in the first round and in the final he was the best again with 130 m. Kobayashi took his fourth win in a row and his seventh this winter with a total of 267.0 points.
After the more than disappointing result in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Stefan Kraft could show a convincing performance in front of his home crowd. The Austrian had two consistently strong jumps with 129.5 m and 130.5 m and came in second behind the outstanding Japanese with 254.2 points.
Andreas Stjernen jumped on 131 m and 126 m on the Bergisel and secured his first podium finish this season in third with 242.7 points. Stjernen is also still fighting for a top result in the overall ranking of the Tournament. After three of the four competitions, he is third, close behind Markus Eisenbichler.
Best German today was Stephan Leyhe, who closely missed the podium in fourth. Behind Olympic champion Kamil Stoch of Poland, who was fifth, Japanese Yukiya Sato and Kilian Peier of Switzerland could celebrate their career-best World Cup results in sixth and seventh.
Richard Freitag of Germany was eighth, Czech Roman Koudelka could not repeat his great performance from the qualification, came in ninth and lost some ground in the fight for a Top 3 result in the overall ranking.
Before the final event in Bischofshofen, Ryoyu Kobayashi now leads the 67th 4-Hills-Tournament with 815.9 points, followed by Markus Eisenbichler (770.4 points) and Andreas Stjernen (766.2 points).
The competition in Bischofshofen takes place on Sunday at 5 pm CET, the qualification is held on Saturday, also at 5 pm CET.
Here's what the athletes said after the competition in Innsbruck:
Andreas Wellinger (20th): This was a step in the right direction. The take-off was also better in the second round and it’s nice that I could move up a couple of places. It is important to keep on working, even if it’s exhausting sometimes.
Stephan Leyhe (4th): Of course I would have been great to be on the podium, but I’m very satisfied with the fourth place. I had two solid jumps and it was a good day for me.
Markus Eisenbichler (13th): In the second round I tried to attack, but it was a bit too much. It was solid competition and I know what I did wrong. I’m not totally unsatisfied, I’m still second in the overall ranking.
Manuel Fettner (16th): It feels good that I was able to show at least one really good jump. Already in the first round, I really enjoyed sitting up there and seeing how full the stadium was. For weeks now I always have one good jump at every World Cup and today it was finally one in the competition and not only in training.
Daniel Huber (14th): The fact that I had to wait before my second jump was not the problem. The second jump sucked and now I’m already looking ahead to Bischofshofen. It’s great that Stefan was able to show two great jumps today. We are getting closer and closer and we are going in the right direction. In Bischofshofen I want to be in the Top 10 again and show good jumps.
Richard Freitag (8.): My jumps were actually pretty good today. Maybe I was a bit late at the take-off, but that’s okay. The crash from last year is still on my mind, especially at the landing.
Ryoyu Kobayashi (1st): I remained focused, I’m in a good shape and I could show that today. That’s why I could win. The jumps were exactly the way I wanted them to be. I don’t think about the Grand Slam, I only think about Bischofshofen and I want to show good jumps there as well.
Stefan Kraft (2nd): That feels really good. In the second round I tried to jump not that aggressively and I was able to do that. I’m very happy about that. I improved my performance from jump to jump. I’m looking forward to my home competition in Bischofshofen, I know this hill very well.