The first competition of the FIS Grand Prix 2017 in Chaikovsky (RUS) was a real nailbiter. Slovenia's Anze Lanisek could move up from tenth after the first round to first with an outstanding second jump. Behind him, Evgeniy Klimov and Denis Kornilov provided a fantastic result for the team of Russia. Norway's Johann Andre Forfang was the tragic figure today.
Lanisek's jump of 143 m in the second round earned him a lead of more than 20 points over the leader at that time, Norwegian Robert Johansson. Right after the jump of Lanisek it was clear that it would take a while until somebody could take the lead, but still it was surprising that it was enough for the win. "After my second jump I knew that it would be hard to beat in this round, but I didn't expect it would be enough to finish first. My second jump was perfect and the telemark was okay as well. Now I'm just happy and satisfied. Today's result is a real boost for the competition tomorrow and for the next season. I have already been jumping well in Hakuba and now again here in Chaikovsky", Lanisek said after his first ever win in the Grand Prix. So far the third place in Hakuba was the best result of the Slovene.
Russia's Evgeniy Klimov and Denis Kornilov gave the audience a reason to celebrate with finishing second and third. They were already second and third after the first round, but in reversed order. Kornilov then had some problems in his second jump and landed already at 127.5 m, 10 m shorter than the competition. "After my second jump I didn't think that I could be on the podium. After the take-off I had big problems in the air, but then I was relaxed during the last part of the flight. When I saw it was only 127.5 m I knew it would not be enough. But Johann Forfang also had a bad second jump and so I could finish on the podium. It was really nice to see the Russian fans smiling, this was an important step for our team", said Kornilov.
Second-placed Evgeniy Klimov was happy for the entire team: "This result is important for the spirit of the Russian athletes and Ski Jumping here in Russia. Now it's important to make the next steps. Maybe we can celebrate a Russian victory here in Chaikovsky tomorrow."
Johann Andre Forfang, the half-time leader, had a bad second jump and became the tragic figure of today's event. He came in fourth. But considering the fact that Forfang was able to keep up with the best after a two-months break due to an injury, this fourth place does feel like a victory. Without a doubt, Forfang is one of the top contenders for the second competition on Sunday.
Anze Semenic was fifth and proved once again that this is one of his favorite hills, no matter under what conditions. The Italian team of head coach Lukasz Kruczek also showed another strong performance with an outstanding sixth place of Alex Insam. And if Davide Bresadola wouldn't have had such a bad second jump (8th after the first round, 25th overall), two Italians could have been in the Top 10 today.
Gregor Deschwanden of Switzerland achieved a top result in seventh, followed by Robert Johansson in eighth. The Kobayashi brothers of Japan were ninth and tenth. Strong result today also for the team of Finland. Andreas Alamommo came in on a career-best eleventh place and Eetu Nousiainen scored important points in 20th. Best Austrian was Clemens Aigner in 14th.
Best and only German athlete was Martin Hamann in 26th. Remarkable was also the 29th place of young Estonian Antti Aigro, who scored valuable points for his team.
Poland's Dawid Kubacki (300 points) leads the overall ranking of the Grand Prix, followed by Japan's Junshiro Kobayashi (234 points) and Anze Lanisek (231 points).