It was a day of contrasts in Courchevel (FRA). In the morning, Russia's Evgeniy Klimov fell in the second training round, in the evening he celebrated his first win. With two great jumps of 132 m and 129 m (259.9 points), Klimov won the Grand Prix in Courchevel ahead of Daniel Huber of Austria and Roman Koudelka of the Czech Republic.
"This is my first victory and it feels great. I will always remember it. Especially my second jump was really good today", explained Klimov, who was third in Einsiedeln last weekend. "My main goal now is to jump that well also in the upcoming winter season, then we'll see", he concluded.
Daniel Huber cool
Besides Klimov, Austria's Daniel Huber provided the second surprise of the day. Huber, whose best result so far was the 18th place in Hinterzarten, showed two faultless jumps that earned him the second place. Huber also kept his cool after his teammate Stefan Kraft could barely avoid a fall right before his jump. "We have been training really well here all week and I knew that my shape was getting better and better and that my jumps were getting more consistent. Today was probably the best competition of my career. It's really cool to be on the podium here", Huber said after his success.
Koudelka thought about retirement
The third place went to Roman Koudelka of the Czech Republic. For him, this was the first success after a very bad winter season. Koudelka even thought about retirement. "Last winter was really tough for me, our coach Richard Schallert left and I was about to end my career. It was a difficult situation for Ski Jumping in the Czech Republic. But then I decided to give it another try for one more year. This was a good decision and I'm satisfied now. I enjoy Ski Jumping again. I'm still jumping better in training and then I'm nervous in the competition, but I'm satisfied with this podium result", said the 29-year-old.
Only 0.5 points behind Koudelka, Slovenia's Timi Zajc came in on a career-best fourth place. Japan's Yukiya Sato was fifth, this was also a career-best for him. Karl Geiger was the best German in sixth, his teammate Markus Eisenbichler was ninth.
The Norwegian vikings achieved a strong team result with the places 7 (Halvor Egner Granerud), 8 (Robert Johansson) and 10 (Joacim Oedegaard Bjoereng). Kevin Bickner (USA) came in on a very good eleventh place.
Various well-known names became victims of the changing wind conditions in the first round. Stephan Leyhe (GER), Gregor Schlierenzauer (AUT) and Domen Prevc (SLO) failed to make the cut for the final round of the best 30.
In absence of Kamil Stoch and Piotr Zyla, Evgeniy Klimov moved up to third in the overall ranking of the Grand Prix with now 205 points. The two Poles are still in the lead (Stoch with 300 points and Zyla with 230 points).
The Grand Prix continues two weeks from now in Hakuba (JPN) with two individual competitions.