The Nordic Combined World Cup had been the exclusive property of Germany’s Eric Frenzel for five season before Japan’s Akito Watabe came to the fore last season. His reign may already be over, because the new star on the circuit may be 21-year-old Norwegian, Jarl Magnus Riiber.
He showed his prowess by winning all three of the weekend races in Lillehammer (NOR) in events of every type:
∙ Friday: In the sprint, a Gundersen with a 98 m hill and 5 km Cross Country race, he barely outlasted Frenzel, 12:45.7-12:45.8. Riiber was sixth in the jumping and fourth in the race and got to the line first.
∙ Saturday: In the first World Cup Mass Start race since 2009, he was fifth in the 10 km race and then won the jumping, again off the 98 m to beat Frenzel again, by 8.1 points.
∙ Sunday: Sunday’s event was a Gundersen off a big 140 m hill and Riiber crushed it, leading by so much that even with a 15th place in the 10 km Cross Country race, he won by more than 35 seconds!
After just two weekends in the 2018-19 season, Riiber already has a 300-184 edge in the seasonal standings over Frenzel. Flash in the pan?
Time will tell, but Riiber has been impressive, and he’s no rookie. He entered the season with 11 career World Cup medals, but only one win (1-6-4). He has four now. Summaries:
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup
Lillehammer (NOR) ~ 30 November-2 December 2018
(Full results here)
Gundersen 98 m Hill/5 km: 1. Jarl Magnus Riiber (NOR), 12:45.7; 2. Eric Frenzel (GER), 12:45.8; 3. Franz-Josef Rehrl (AUT), 12:51.4; 4. Espen Bjoernstad (NOR), 12:58.7; 5. Mario Seidl (AUT), 13:07.0. Also in the top 25: 24. Taylor Fletcher (USA), 13:54.4.
Mass Start 10 km/98 m Hill: 1. Riiber (NOR), 131.8 points; 2. Frenzel (GER), 123.7; 3. Fabian Riessle (GER), 123.6; 4. Akito Watabe (JPN), 117.2; 5. Johannes Rydzek (GER), 115.2.
Gundersen 140 m Hill/10 km: 1. Riiber (NOR), 27:54.3; 2. Joergen Graabak (NOR), +35.8; 3. Rydzek (GER), +36.6; 4. Watabe (JPN), +43.1; 5. Martin Fritz (AUT), +47.8.