Olympic Champion Mario Stecher (AUT) celebrated his eleventh World Cup victory in the DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup in Ramsau today. In a nail-biting sprint decision, the Austrian relegated Bjoern Kircheisen to rank two and Joahnnes Rydzek (both GER) to place three. Overall World Cup leader Jason Lamy Chappuis (FRA) finished in fifth behind Todd Lodwick (USA).
Mario Stecher - first
“It wasn’t easy to jump this morning but the jury made the right decisions.”
“The race was tough and interesting, I tried to break away and I knew that I had a 50-50 chance to win against Kircheisen. I did, and I’m happy. This victory means a lot to me.”
“It is my first podium place in Ramsau since 1999, when I got second place at the Worlds. I wish I can repate today’s performance also tomorrow…”
Bjoern Kircheisen – second
“Although I have won four aout of the last seven races here, I’m not disappointed with second place.”
“We worked very well together on the track, and I was able to match Mario’s speed when he tried to go way. I’m happy whith what I’ve achieved today.”
It was the fifth podium place for Austria in five races, and it was the first ranking outside the top three for Lamy Chappuis today. On the other hand, it was the first podium place for 19-year-old Rydzek.
For the first time in this season, the ski jumping portion was not prey of a French athlete. After three victories of Jason Lamy Chappuis and one from Francois Braud, Norway’s Espen Rian won with a jump of 94.5 meters (111.2 points). Johannes Rydzek delivered the same length but was penalized by the Wind Compensation system. He got 108.9 points. Rydzeks compatriot Bjoern Kircheisen was in third with 95.5 m and 1907.2 points. Behind Todd Lodwick, Jason Lamy Chappuis placed fifth, with 23 seconds of disadvantage from the leader.
During the cross-country race, Espen Rian (who finshed 27th) was easily caught by Stecher, Kircheisen, Rydzek, Lodwick and Lamy Chappuis. These five athletes worked together very well and held other racers, like Mikko Kokslien (NOR) on their heels.
With one kilometer to go, Mario Stecher tried to break away, and only Kircheisen could follow. At the finish line, the Austrian beat the German by 0.9 seconds.
Mikko Kokslien was the fastest athlete in the track; he finished in 24:53.5 minutes and improved from rank 24 after the jumping to sixth.
With Akito Watabe and Daito Takahashi, ranked ninth and tenth, two Japanese made the Top Ten.
In the overall World Cup standings, Jason Lamy Chappuis leads with 385 points; Mikko Kokslien is second (329), Mario Stecher third (286).
Today’s top three:
1. Mario Stecher (AUT) 104.0 points (6)/25:17.4 min (8) 25:46.4
2. Bjoern Kircheisen (GER) 107.2 points (3)/25:31.3 (14) +0.9
3. Johannes Rydzek (GER) 108.9 points (2)/25:52.9 (27) +15.5
World Cup Standings: 1. Jason Lamy Chappuis (FRA 385, 2. Mikko Kokslien (NOR) 329, 3. Mario Stecher (AUT) 286, 4. Felix Gottwald (AUT) 260, 5. Eric Frenzel (GER) 234, 6. Bjoern Kircheisen (GER) 195
Full standings: http://www.fis-ski.com/pdf/2011/NK/4001/2011NK4001WC.pdf