Kamil Stoch of Poland continues to dominate the Ski Jumping circuit. In a breathtaking competition in Trondheim (NOR) on Thursday evening, he claimed his 29th win in the World Cup, the seventh this season. And Stoch also further extended his lead in the RAW AIR. The second and third place today went to Austria's Stefan Kraft and Norway's Robert Johansson. Best German was Richard Freitag in fifth.
The 15 000 fans in the Granaasen Arena of Trondheim got see a great show. Ski Jumping on the edge during this already extreme RAW AIR Tour. Germany's Markus Eisenbichler set a highlight already in the trial round with his jump of 148.5 m (the hill record was at 143 m at this point). After this jump of Eisenbichler, the trial round was canceled. The problem was that the jury couldn't move the gate further down and there were strong headwind conditions. Eisenbichler already started from gate 1 and so it would have been too dangerous for the top athletes and especially for Kamil Stoch.
As forecasted, the wind then calmed down a little at the time of the competition. But there was still headwind and the best in the field still jumped very far. Kamil Stoch once again proved his extraordinary skills with a new hill record jump of 146 m. In the second round, the three-time Olympic champion then secured the win with 141 m. This performance earned him a lead of 17 points over Stefan Kraft of Austria. "It's a great feeling that I'm still leading the RAW AIR and my jumps are on a really good level. These two jumps here over 140 m were great and I really enjoyed the time in the air. Ski Flying is always exciting, so I will just try to have fun in Vikersund. I will try to do my best and we'll see how it goes there", said Stoch.
Stefan Kraft continues to steadily improve his shape towards the end of the season. With today's second place he equaled his season-best result: "This second place means a lot. Being the best behind Kamil is almost like winning at the moment and it also feels that way. Especially my second jump was really great today."
Robert Johansson definitely established himself among the world's elite with his third place. After winning two bronze medals at the Olympic Games in PyeongChang, the man with the mustache now finished on the podium twice in a row. "The hill here is fantastic. Today the conditions were a bit crazy and so we almost weren't able to lower the gate far enough. The first round was extremely entertaining for us and I hope for the audience as well. It was fun to set a perfect telemark at 145.5 m. The RAW AIR is a challenge, both physically and mentally, but I still feel strong", said Johansson.
The German jumpers could also show a convincing performance on Thursday. With Richard Freitag (5th), Karl Geiger (7th) and Markus Eisenbichler (10th) three German athletes finished in the Top 10. Peter Prevc also seems to get in a very good shape in time for the final in Planica. The Slovene came in among the best again in eighth today.
Ryoyu Kobayashi of Japan and young Norwegian Halvor Egner Granerud achieved good results as well in 13th and 14th. Vladimir Zografski of Bulgaria and US American Kevin Bickner (26th) also showed good performances.
Daniel Andre Tande and Andreas Wellinger, on the other hand, will not be satisfied with the places 15 and 22 in Trondheim.Stoch clearly ahead in all rankings
Before the three days in Vikersund, Kamil Stoch leads the overall ranking of the RAW AIR with his total of 1282.3 points, clearly ahead of Robert Johansson (1494.7 points) and Andreas Stjernen (1470.2 points).
In the overall World Cup the Pole is also in the lead with now 1203 points. He is followed by Richard Freitag (958 points) and Daniel Andre Tande (865 points).
The RAW AIR continues on Friday with the training (2:30 pm CET) and the qualification (5:30 pm CET) on the Ski Flying hill in Vikersund. On Thursday evening, the teams travel from Trondheim to Oslo with a charter flight and then per bus to the hotel in Drammen.