The seasonal king of the Nordic Combined has been established and Jarl Magnus Riiber took the weekend off in Lahti (FIN), but the race was one of the best of the season.
Norwegian teammate Joergen Graabak was fifth in the jumping and started 1:14 in back of leader Mario Seidl (AUT), but it was he and Japan’s Akito Watabe – last year’s World Cup champ – who dueled it out until the finish.
Graabak had the lead coming into the final lap, but Watabe was closing, and closing and closing. He got close enough for a photo finish, but Graabak was awarded the win as both shoved their skis towards the finish line.
With three races left in the season, Watabe’s finish propelled him into second place overall, with 774 points (Riiber has 1,254), ahead of Germany’s Johannes Rydzek (761) and Frank-Josef Rehrl (AUT: 755). Summaries:
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup
Lahti (FIN) ~ 9-10 February 2019
(Full results here)
Gundersen 130 m hill/10.0 km: 1. Joergen Graabak (NOR), 24:39.8; 2. Akito Watabe (JPN), 24:39.8; 3. Mario Seidl (AUT), 24:55.4; 4. Espen Bjoernstad (NOR), 25:12.1; 5. Magnus Krog (NOR), 25:14.8.
Team Sprint 130 m hill/2×7.5 km: 1. Ilkka Herola/Eero Hirvonen (FIN), 29:14.6; 2. Espen Bjoernstad/Joergen Grabaak (NOR), 29:14.8; 3. Wilhelm Denifl/Mario Seidl (AUT), 29:18.1; 4. Espen Andersen/Magnus Krog (NOR), 29:20.6; 5. Hideaki Nagai/Go Yamamoto (JPN), 29:45.0.