It looked for a moment like the first Nordic Combined Triple held outside of Seefeld (AUT) might be swept by one athlete for the fifth time in six editions. But then came Sunday.
Austria’s Franz-Josef Rehrl, 25, who had won a grand total of three World Cup medals in his career, was the surprise winner of the first competition, with jumping off of an 118 m hill and a 5.0 km cross-country race. He then backed that up with another win on Saturday – beating reigning World Cup champ Akito Watabe of Japan – in the 118 m jumping and 10.9 km race.
But his hopes for a sweep were dashed on Sunday, in the 118 m jumping and 15.0 km race by fellow Austrian Mario Seidl. Rehrl was third and won medals on all three days, but Seidl celebrated his first-ever World Cup win after two fifth-place finishes in the first two races.
This sixth Nordic Combined Triple was held in Chaux-Neuve (FRA) and for the first time outside of Seefeld (AUT) due to the Nordic Skiing World Championships being held there later this year.
The World Cup leader coming into the Triple, Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber, did well, with seventh, sixth and fifth-place finishes and continues as the World Cup leader with 858 points. Seidl’s strong weekend vaulted him into second place (669) with Germany’s Johannes Rydzek third (648). Rehrl moved up to fifth (588). Summaries:
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup/Nordic Combined Triple
Chaux-Neuve (FRA) ~ 18-20 January 2019
(Full results here)
Gundersen 118 m hill + 5.0 km: 1. Franz-Josef Rehrl (AUT), 11:16.7; 2. Espen Bjoernstad (NOR), +9.4; 3. Fabian Riessle (GER), +9.4; 4. Akito Watabe (JPN), +9.9; 5. Mario Seidl (AUT), +12.7.
Gundersen 118 m hill + 10.0 km: 1. Rehrl (AUT), 22:58.7; 2. Watabe (JPN), +24.3; 3. Riessle (GER), +24.8; 4. Bjoernstad (NOR), +25.0; 5. Seidl (AUT), +27.5.
Gundersen 118 m hill + 15.0 km: 1. Seidl (AUT), 35:44.0; 2. Riessle (GER), 36:09.6; 3. Rehrl (AUT), 36:17.7; 4. Joergen Graabak (NOR), 36:45.4; 5. Jarl Magnus Riiber (NOR), 36:45.7.