Kamil Stoch of Poland won the third competition of the 69th 4-Hills-Tournament on Sunday. On the Bergisel in Innsbruck, the three-time Olympic champion clearly dominated the competition and came in ahead of Slovenia's Anze Lanisek and his teammate Dawid Kubacki.
Norway's Halvor Egner Granerud and the Bergisel-hill of Innsbruck will probably never become friends. The top favorite for the win today and overall was already defeated after the first half of the competition. Granerud was only 29th after the first round, in the end, he was able to move up 14 places, but he still lost the overall lead in the 4-Hills-Tournament. After the competition, Granerud was obviously very disappointed and needed a few minutes to find the words to describe what had happened. "It felt like Innsbruck today, I'm sorry to say that, but it felt like Innsbruck. I've never had a good competition here, it's always the same. An okay jump just falls down, with no clear explanation why. It's the same procedure every year. I probably made some mistakes, but it wasn't a jump for only 115 m" the Norwegians said.
Karl Geiger, second overall before today, shared a similar fate today. The winner of the competition in Oberstdorf was only 30th after the first round and finished 16th today. "This was pretty sobering, pretty bad. It's really tough, what happened here. I don't know what to say and I'm very frustrated. I know that I can jump well, that's why such a mistake is so annoying. In the second round you then jump ten meters farther, which is a lot here, and you ask yourself what has actually just happened. Now we have a day off tomorrow and I really don't want to talk about Bischofshofen now", said Geiger, who is now fourth, just behind Granerud, in the 4-Hills overall ranking.
It didn't go well for Granerud and Geiger today, but it went great for three Poles. In difficult conditions of the Bergisel, Kamil Stoch used his experience and his skills and took a clear win ahead of Anze Lanisek of Slovenia and his fellow countryman Dawid Kubacki. The fourth place went to the third Pole, Piotr Zyla - the total Polish triumph.
"It was a fantastic day, I jumped really well today and my teammates were outstanding as well, so I'm happy for them too. I don't think the 4-Hills-Tournament is decided yet and I want to focus on myself and on my jumps, not on the result", said Stoch, who now leads the overall ranking of the 4-Hills-Tournament with a total of 809.9 points, followed by Dawid Kubacki and Halvor Egner Granerud.
"This was a great competition for me and the entire Polish team. I don't know where I lost the points compared to Kamil. Actually, it's impossible to be that far ahead, I don't know how he did this", Kubacki said regarding the 12 points lead Stoch had over second-placed Anze Lanisek.
Lanisek was also extremely satisfied: "I was a bit disappointed after Garmisch. I knew that I can be on the podium so I tried to achieve that here. For me, the conditions were quite okay today, a lot can always happen in Innsbruck. I'm really happy about my performance here. Bischofshofen is a hill I really like a lot and I hope I can perform on a high level there again."
The places five to seven went to Yukiya Sato, Markus Eisenbichler, and the second-best Japanese, Ryoyu Kobayashi. Stefan Kraft and Michael Hayboeck of Austria finished eighth and ninth.
Four, maybe even five athletes still have at least a theoretical chance to claim the overall title at the 69th 4-Hills-Tournament. But for Halvor Egner Granerud, Karl Geiger, and Markus Eisenbichler it will be extremely difficult to catch up with the two leading Poles. Bu the final event of the Tournament in Bischofshofen will definitely still be exciting.
The competition starts on Wednesday at 4:45 pm CET.
Statements after the competition in Innsbruck (AUT):
Markus Eisenbichler: The second jump was quite good, I wanted to attack and that paid off. It was a very tough competition, but in the end, it could have been worse for me. But you have to accept that and look ahead. Bischofshofen is a difficult hill, but I get better again and I'm looking forward to it. So much can happen in Ski Jumping and that's why you should never give up.
Stefan Kraft: I'm very satisfied with the result, the jumps were really good. Apart from Kamil, it was all very close today, he once again showed what he can do. I was not far behind the second or third place, maybe I also didn't have the necessary luck, but I'm satisfied. We saw today that also the overall leader, who dominated the season so far, can't jump all the way down when the conditions are not that good.
Michael Hayboeck: I'm definitely not dissatisfied today, even if I was not far behind the podium. In the second round I wanted to attack again and this jump would've worked in Ski Flying, but here was a bit too much, and then you lose two or three meters. The first two legs of the 4-Hills were very tough for me because I thought that it could a good Tournament for me and I felt well. Now I'm happy that I had a good competition here.
Pius Paschke: It hurts a bit, that this competition was over after the first round for me. I just couldn't jump well on this hill and I was always way too early at the take-off. I was not able to improve that.
Thomas Lackner: It's the home hill and we train here a lot. I'm very satisfied, it was not an easy competition. I could improve compared to the qualification and did what I had to do. Now it's on to my favorite hill in Bischofshofen.
Stefan Horngacher (Coach GER): Karl and Markus made good jumps again in the second round. Karl could close the gap to the top a bit and didn't lose that much compared to Granerud. Now we have to focus on Bischofshofen and have a competition there. It was difficult for us here from the start, I don't exactly know why. Then you want to force it in the competition and that doesn't work. The jumps in the first round were not good, now we'll see what happens in Bischofshofen.