Kamil Stoch of Poland won the opening event of the 66th 4-Hills-Tournament in Oberstdorf. The 2014 double Olympic champion, proved that he is one of the top contenders with his jumps of 126 m and 137 m and won ahead of top favorite Richard Freitag and Dawid Kubacki (POL). The competition was held in extremely difficult conditions and continuous rain.Clear win for Kamil Stoch
This was the 23rd World Cup win for Kamil Stoch, the first in Oberstdorf and also the first this season. Stoch laid the foundation for this success with the longest jump of the day of 137 m in the final round, with which he could move up fourth to first. "It was a fantastic day for me. The weather conditions were tough. I tried to make two good jumps and I'm satisfied with the performance and the result. The competition was on a really high level, Richard, Dawid, and the others showed really good performances", the overwhelmed winner summed up the day. With his results in Engelberg before Christmas (third and second), Stoch had already shown that he is getting in a top shape right in time, but after the performances in training and the qualification yesterday, this win was still a little surprising.
Top favorite Richard Freitag was second and earned himself an ideal position in the fight for the overall title of the Tournament. With 275.5 points he is now only 4.2 points behind the leader Kamil Stoch. "We are only at the beginning of the 4-Hills-Tournament. Kamil was jumping really well today, especially in the second round. It's as close as everyone has said before. I'm really satisfied with the two days here in Oberstdorf. It's fun to jump and we can be happy that we were able to jump today", said Freitag, whose strong jumps today can make the German fans dream of the first German 4-Hills winner in 16 years.Kubacki finally among the best in winter
Poland's Dawid Kubacki came in third and could finally achieve the long-awaited top result in winter. So far the seventh place in Kuopio in 2016 was the best World Cup result for Kubacki, who was on top in summer competitions many times already. "Of course I'm really happy about this result today. I was working really hard to get on the podium, I had to work for a long time, but it was worth it. My jumps today weren't perfect but on a good level", said Kubacki, who provided an outstanding result for the Polish team together with Kamil Stoch and Stefan Hula (5th).Stefan Kraft loses the win
Despite the half-time lead, Austria's Stefan Kraft missed the podium. With 119 m in the final and 132 m in the first round, he scored 262.8 points and came in 7.3 points behind the third-placed Kubacki. "It was definitely not my best jump", Kraft said about his performance in the second round. "I was a bit too late, but it was still okay. We just started, with this fourth place I'm still in the game", the 2014/15 4-Hills-Tournament winner said after the competition. Japan's Junshiro Kobayashi was strong again in sixth, followed by the two Norwegians Anders Fannemel and Johann Andre Forfang, who tied for seventh.
Markus Eisenbichler and Andreas Wellinger finished ninth and tenth and can still hope for a top result in the 66th 4-Hills-Tournament. Wellinger is currently 25.4 points behind Stoch.
The extremely difficult conditions provided some surprises in this competition. It was especially tough for Slovenia's Peter Prevc. Prevc was considered among the favorites after his strong jumps in training and qualification yesterday, but today he was 41st, failed to qualify for the final round and lost his chances on a top result in the overall ranking.
The 4-Hills-Tournament continues with the official training in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Sunday at 11:45 am CET, the qualification for the second competition follows at 2 pm CET. The teams traveled to Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Saturday evening, the drive there takes about two hours.
Richard Freitag (630 points) still leads the overall World Cup, followed by Andreas Wellinger (425 points) and Kamil Stoch (423 points).
Michael Hayboeck (AUT): From such a low gate as in the first round you are not allowed to make any mistakes. I didn't think the conditions were that bad in both rounds, but something was not working out for me. I was also extremely slow in the inrun. In these conditions, with rain and wind, you also need some luck.
Daniel Andre Tande (NOR): I was struggling to find the rhythm of this hill and when you are not jumping at 100 % it's tough. Of course there was also a bit of tail wind. It was not my best day at the hill this year. The suit gets extremely wet when it rains and that's not ideal, but usually, the inrun track is fast with a little bit of rain.
Karl Geiger (GER): This was not satisfying for me, I'm not extremely happy, but it was okay. The jumps were not perfect, the conditions are difficult. That's part of Ski Jumping. When you have good conditions it can give you a boost, when you have bad conditions it's frustrating. I already showed that I can be in the Top 10 or Top 5 and I want to do that as often as possible over the next days.
Andreas Wellinger (GER): The first jump was not what I expected, the second one was better. The rain is the same for everyone, the wind conditions were not that easy. When you have the luck you have to take advantage of it, when you have bad conditions you still need to make a good jump and I was not able to do that in the first round. Now I'm the chaser and there are still six jumps left.
Simon Ammann (SUI): The weather was not a big problem, you needed some luck and a good jump. I had neither today, especially in the second round. Today's result ruined my outside chance for the overall ranking of the 4-Hills-Tournament. Now I'll just continue working to improve my shape.
Heinz Kuttin (AUT): I don't look at the overall ranking right now. It's about the 4-Hills-Tournament, but it's also about the four competitions and important points in the overall World Cup. For us, today's result is a bit of a disappointment because we lost the podium finish in the final round.