The battle for the overall title at the 66th 4-Hills-Tournament is already practically decided after three of the four competitions. Poland's Kamil Stoch won on the Bergisel in Innsbruck with two outstanding jumps and now has a clear lead in the 4-Hills overall ranking as Richard Freitag, Stoch's main opponent, crashed in the first round.
"I'm really happy about the job I did today. It was a difficult competition with the rain and you have to remain focused on yourself. I'm truly sorry that Richard fell today. It's always sad when something like this happens but that's the sport and things like this happen sometimes. I wish him all the best. I'm focusing on myself and ski jumping and not on winning all four competitions", said the winner.
Double Olympic champion Stoch now has the chance to follow in the footsteps of Sven Hannwald, who is the only athlete who could win all four competitions of the 4-Hills-Tournament in one season. The German achieved that 2001/02.Freitag crashes in first round
Richard Freitag fell after the landing of his 130 m jump in the first round and decided not to jump in the final round due to problems with his knee. Freitag is currently checked in the hospital, so far no diagnosis was published.
Daniel Andre Tande fought his way back to the top after his disappointing results in Oberstdorf (20th) and Garmisch-Partenkirchen (15th). With jumps of 129.5 m and 125 m and 255.6 points, the 23-year-old finished second today. "It looks as if I'm back in the game, but I wouldn't say that I'm totally back yet. It's amazing that I can now show good jumps in the competition again. I'm almost too aggressive at the take-off and with tail wind, this is not the best way to do it, you could see that in Garmisch. This is what I'm working on right now", said the Norwegian. Besides Daniel Andre Tande, also Andreas Stjernen, who moved up from 16th to fourth in the final, and Robert Johansson in seventh made sure it was a successful day for the Norwegian team.
Despite the moment of shock caused by the crash of Richard Freitag, the Germans showed a strong team performance. Lead by Andreas Wellinger, who came in third with the longest jump of the day on 133 m in the first round and 126 m in the final. After he couldn't meet the high expectations with finishing 10th and 11th in the first two competitions of the 4-Hills-Tournament, he had a reason the celebrate again. "I'm definitely satisfied with my jumps today, I'm on the right track and I want to continue like that. In Bischofshofen I want to jump like I did today and further stabilize the performance on this level. We'll then see the outcome on the result list", said Wellinger.
With Markus Eisenbichler and Stephan Leyhe in eighth and ninth, and Karl Geiger in 12th, three more athletes of head coach Werner Schuster achieved a top result. Youngster Constantin Schmid was 26th.
Slovenia's Jernej Damjan was fifth and achieved his best result since his surprising win in Ruka (FIN) late November. Junshiro Kobayashi was once again the best of the Japanese and confirmed his consistently strong shape this season with a sixth place today.Austrians disappoint again
Michael Hayboeck came in tenth and held the Austrian flag high in this home event. He was very satisfied with his performance in this home competition: "I can tell that things are getting better for me, the tenth place in such difficult conditions is worth a lot for me. My wish was to improve continuously during the 4-Hills-Tournament and right now I do just that." It was another disappointing day for his teammates. Stefan Kraft came in only 24th, the third Austrian in the final was Clemens Leitner, who scored his first ever World Cup points in 29th. All other Austrians failed to qualify for the second round.
The Polish team showed a close performance, but except Kamil Stoch, none of the athletes of head coach Stefan Horngacher came in among the best today. Stefan Hula was the second-best Pole in 11th, Maciej Kot, Piotr Zyla, and Jakub Wolny finished on the place 13 to 15, Dawid Kubacki was 20th.
With Simon Ammann (32nd) and local hero Gregor Schlierenzauer (37th), big names of Ski Jumping failed to make the cut for the second round. Ryoyu Kobayashi, Tilen Bartol, Domen Prevc, Manuel Fettner and Pius Paschke were also among those, who didn't qualify for the final.
Before the grand final in Bischofshofen, Kamil Stoch now has a clear lead in the overall ranking with 833.2 points. Andreas Wellinger (768.7 points) and Junshiro Kobayashi (765.7 points) are second and third.
The competition in Bischofshofen takes place on January 6th at 5 pm CET. But first, it's time for the official training and the qualification (5 pm CET) on Friday.