There was no doubt about the winner of the Nordic Combined World Cup going into the final weekend of the season in Schonach (GER), but there was a major surprise.
Austria’s Bernhard Gruber – the 2015 World Champion, now 36 – won Saturday’s Gundersen event for his first World Cup victory since February 2016. It was his seventh career win, moving up from fourth after the jumping to finish first across the line.
A major snowstorm on Sunday threatened the competition, so the jumping from Saturday’s provisional round had to be used and the cross-country race was shortened to 10.0 km.
No matter, the seasonal star – Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber – was equal to the challenge and steamed home first, after starting 17 seconds down. It was his 12th win of the season out of 21 events and his first seasonal title.
The defending champion, Japan’s Akito Watabe, won only five medals all season and started out poorly, but he was ultra-consistent with 17 results in the top nine and managed to finish the season in second place, well behind Riiber, but a substantial achievement in its own right. Summaries:
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup
Schonach (GER) ~ 15-17 March 2019
(Full results here)
Gundersen 106 m hill/10.0 km: 1. Bernhard Gruber (AUT), 25:10.8; 2. Lukas Greiderer (AUT), 25:11.4; 3. Jarl Magnus Riiber (NOR), 25:20.6; 4. Vinzenz Geiger (GER), 25:34.3; 5. Ilkka Herola (FIN), 25:39.4.
Gundersen 106 m hill/10.0 km: 1. Riiber (NOR), 25:14.9; 2. Jan Schmid (NOR), 25:39.9; 3. Gruber (AUT), 25:53.1; 4. Alessandro Pittin (ITA), 26:04.1; 5. Akito Watabe (JPN), 26:27.8.
Final Standings: 1. Jarl Magnus Riiber (NOR), 1,518; 2. Akito Watabe (JPN), 893; 3. Franz-Josef Rehrl (AUT), 841; 4. Johannes Rydzek (GER), 806; 5. Vinzenz Geiger (GER), 803.