Taku Takeuchi, Gregor Schlierenzauer, Richard Freitag - FIS
World Cup win 52: The first individual competition in Lillehammer couldn't have gone any better for Gregor Schlierenzauer. With a great jump on 105.5 m he already had a clear lead after the first round, a normal jump on 97 m in the final was then enough to take the win with 288.5 points.
Taku Takeuchi came in five points behind and proved his currently great shape with 99 m and 100.5 m. Richard Freitag, the winner of the qualification, crowned his comeback in the World Cup after a break due to a fatigue fracture, with the third place. With 94.5 m and 101 m the German scored a total of 280.3 points.
Schlierenzauer, who also took the yellow leaders' bib with his second win this season, was happy about the strong performance: "I'm very happy and proud that I was able to win today. My first jump was very good and I also had some luck with the conditions. These two things combined brought me the lead after the first round. Taku was a dangerous opponent today, his technique is good and it's only a matter of time until he stands on top of the podium."
After the win in the mixed competition with the Japanese team, Taku Takeuchi achieved his second podium result this weekend. "This second place is very important for me and I'm very happy about it. I was not nervous and could completely focus on my jumps. But next time I would like to win."
Richard Freitag was also happy about his great comeback. "It is always great to be on the podium and it's also always nice to be in Norway. That's why I decided to come here after I heard it would be possible for me after my injury. The conditions in the first round were not that easy for me, but they didn't play an important role. The third place is nice for me and I'm really happy that I can compete again."
Richard Freitag was not the only German who showed a good performance. Andreas Wellinger, second at the World Cup opening in Klingenthal, posted the second-longest jump of the day in the final with 103.5 m, but a bad landing cost him the podium result with 276.2 points. Severin Freund (272.9 points) as seventh, Marinus Kraus (266.8 points) as eleventh and the new hill record holder Karl Geiger (263.4 points) as 15th completed the outstanding team result for Germany.
As expected, the Norwegian hopes rested almost entirely on World Champion Anders Bardal. At the end he missed the podium by 3.2 points and finished fourth. Also Poland's Maciej Kot could dream of a podium result today, with 276.9 points he came in fifth. Robert Kranjec (271.3 points), Rune Velta (270.8 points) and veteran Noriaki Kasai (268.6 points) completed the Top 10.
In the Austrian team there's still a gap behind the outstanding Gregor Schlierenzauer. Andreas Kofler (12th), Stefan Kraft (22nd) and Wolfgang Loitzl (25th) still have some work to do to get in shape for the Olympics. Janne Ahonen was 13th, Norway's Tom Hilde and Poland's World Champion Kamil Stoch might not be very satisfied as 16th and 20th.
Vincent Descombes Sevoie was 17th and remains the only French jumper who is capable of achieving good results. Simon Ammann came in 28th, right behind the best Russian Alexey Romashov, and still has a lot of work to do. For Krzysztof Biegun, the overall World Cup leader, today's competition was already over after the first round. As 32nd, he missed the final round by only 0.3 points.
The competition on the large hill in Lillehammer will take place on Sunday at 3:00 pm CET. The training for this event was held already on Saturday evening.