Norway’s Halvor Egner Granerud won the opening competition of the 71st Four-Hills-Tournament in Oberstdorf on Thursday evening. Granerud prevailed in a dramatic competition ahead of the two Poles Piotr Zyla and Dawid Kubacki. Karl Geiger just missed the podium in fourth place.
The opening of the 71st Four-Hills-Tournament in Oberstdorf was not only a high-class ski jumping event but also a battle of nerves for the athletes. Numerous short and long wind interruptions posed a difficult task for all involved. Despite waiting times, 25,000 spectators in the sold-out arena in Oberstdorf created a terrific atmosphere.
From quite strong tailwinds to calm winds to upwinds, everything was present on this evening. The jury therefore decided to interrupt the competition several times and wait for comparable conditions for all athletes.
“Today was an extremely demanding competition, the jury did a great job in difficult conditions and we experienced a high-class competition at the start of the Four Hills Tournament, we can be very satisfied with that”, said FIS Race Director Sandro Pertile after the competition.
For Granerud, the winner of the day, the conditions did not play a decisive role in the end: The Norwegian is jumping in excellent form and was simply not to be beaten on this day. Granerud was 13.4 points ahead of the surprisingly strong Piotr Zyla, 17.3 points ahead of top favourite Dawid Kubacki from Poland.
“It feels very good. My jumps yesterday and today were really good. I am absolutely satisfied with my performance today and I hope I can continue at this level in Garmisch-Partenkirchen,” Granerud said.
Thus Granerud clearly leads the Tour ranking after the first of four competitions.
For the German athletes the start of the tour went well without a podium but nevertheless. Karl Geiger and Andreas Wellinger finished fourth and sixth, respectively, and Stefan Kraft from Austria came in fifth.
Co-favourite Anze Lanisek finished 10th after a mistake in the first run, but his gap to leader Granerud is already 45 points, which is quite big after only one competition.
Turkey’s Fatih Arda Ipcioglu won his duel against Markus Eisenbichler from Germany in the first round and triggered a small crisis for Eisenbichler. “My condition is not right at the back and front. This is extremely bitter right now and I have to think about whether it makes sense to torture myself further here, it’s just not nice what’s happening right now,” said Eisenbichler.
The US American Erik Belshaw reached the final of the best 30 for the second time in a row after his points debut in Engelberg a week ago. An impressive success for the 18-year-old.
In the overall World Cup Dawid Kubacki still leads ahead of Anze Lanisek and Halvor Egner Granerud.
The second competition of the 71st Four Hills Tournament traditionally takes place on 1 January in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.