Halvor Egner Granerud won the qualification for the opening competition of the 71st Four-Hills-Tournament in Oberstdorf (GER). Poland’s Dawid Kubacki came in second, Slovenia’s Timi Zajc was third.
After three years, the stadium in Oberstdorf was once again almost full. In front of 16,000 spectators Granerud showed a great jump on 133.5 metres and won with 8.9 points ahead of the World Cup leader Dawid Kubacki (132). The 2020/21 overall World Cup winner will face Naoki Nakamura of Japan on Thursday in one of the highlights of the first round knockout.
“Both jumps were very good. The first training was so good that I didn’t feel the need to jump the second round. The qualification was more or less the same,” Granerud said.
“I will just try to keep the level of my jumps, because at the moment it is really good,” the Norwegian added.
Granerud, however, does not see himself as the top favourite yet.
“Dawid is the top favourite because he is the leader in the overall World Cup and is in the form of his life,” said the Oberstdorf qualification winner.
“There were small mistakes that maybe didn’t disturb the jump, but I can do better. The technique works, only the legs were not so well prepared,” Kubacki said about his performance. “I hope that I can do my best jumps tomorrow in the competition” said Kubacki.
“This is OK for me. I know I am the hunted and the favourite to win the Tournament, I have worked hard for this. Every jumper works to be at the top,” Kubacki explained when asked about his role as favourite in the 71st Four Hills Tournament.
The head coach of the Polish team, Thomas Thurnbichler, could be very satisfied with the day’s result, all Poles qualified for the competition, three of them even made it into the top 6. Piotr Zyla finished fifth and Kamil Stoch sixth. Zyla will compete against his team mate Stefan Hula in the competition.
The Norwegians also did well. Granerud was the best and Johann Andre Forfang finished fourth with the longest jump of the qualification at 134.5 metres. Daniel Andre Tande, who has already experienced ups and downs this winter, came in ninth.
The German fans, who had gathered in the stadium in large numbers, saw a good performance of the local heroes Karl Geiger and Andreas Wellinger, who finished seventh and eighth. However, a big challenge awaits Geiger on Thursday, because he will meet one of the top starters of the Four-Hills-Tournament, Stefan Kraft, in his knockout duel. The Austrian only finished in 44th place.
“It was a good day, all three jumps were on a good level. Unfortunately I got a strong knockout partner with Stefan Kraft, but that can also be an incentive. He will definitely jump better tomorrow than today, I can’t afford a weakness tomorrow. 16,000 spectators at a qualification are absolutely fantastic, if 10,000 more come tomorrow, that’s really great, I’m really looking forward to it,” said Geiger.
There will be more exciting duels. Manuel Fettner will jump against Domen Prevc, Giovanni Bresadola against Stephan Leyhe, Pius Paschke against Jan Hoerl and Ryoyu Kobyashi will face Lovro Kos in one of the first duels.