Last season’s Nordic Combined opener in Ruka (FIN) produced a surprise winner in Espen Andersen of Norway. Ditto for the 2018-19 campaign which opened last weekend with another surprise, this time from Mario Seidl of Austria.
Hardly a factor in last season’s races, Seidl entered the new World Cup season having won just three career World Cup medals: one silver and two bronzes. But he lept out to 142.5 m and took a huge lead of 57.0 seconds into the running phase.
He could hardly lose and despite finishing 29th in the cross-country phase, he won easily, some 16.5 seconds ahead of Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber (second in jumping and 11th-fastest in cross country).
Last year’s champ, Japan’s Akito Watabe was 15th and runner-up Jan Schmid (NOR) was ninth. Summaries from Ruka:
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup
Ruka (FIN) ~ 24-25 November 2018
(Full results here)
Gundersen 142 m hill + 10 km: 1. Mario Seidl (AUT), 26:02.5; 2. Jarl Magnus Riiber (NOR), +16.5; 3. Johannes Rydzek (GER), +1:08.0; 4. Tomas Portyk (CZE), +1:17.4; 5. Manuel Faisst (GER), +1:18.7.
Team 142 m hill + 10 km: 1. Germany (Frenzel, Reissle, Rydzek, Geiger), 50:23.7; 2. Japan, +1:04.8; 3. Norway, +1:48.4; 4. Austria, +2:17.4; 5. Czech Rep., +