Anders Bardal wins difficult competition in Zakopane
Peter Prevc, Anders Bardal, Richard Freitag - FIS
Rain, wind, water in the inrun, long breaks, final round canceled: The individual competition in Zakopane offered everything that's not fun in ski jumping. But with Anders Bardal at least there was a winner after almost three hours. The Norwegian took advantage of the good conditions during his jump and won with 131.5 m and 127.0 points ahead of Peter Prevc and Richard Freitag.
The Slovene, in great shape in the past weeks, jumped on 124.5 m and with 124.7 points he came in second, 2.6 points ahead of Freitag. The German confirmed his improving form with his jump on 129 m. 0.7 points behind, Freitag's teammate Marinus Kraus finished fourth with 130 m.
Career best for Maksimochkin
Russian Mikhail Maksimochkin came in on a career best fifth place with 130.5 m and 119.8 points, he also had some luck with the wind conditions.
The competition was clouded by the difficult conditions right from the start. Strong and changing winds from 5 m/s tailwind to 4 m/s head wind and rain made it difficult. The trial round was canceled. The competition then was a lottery that only spared a few athletes. The German team had more luck with the wind conditions today than in Saturday's team competition. Severin Freund achieved a top result in sixth with 117.0 points. Michael Hayboeck, third on Thursday in Wisla, achieved a Top 10 result again in seventh. Slovene Tomaz Naglic also had good conditions and was eighth with 116.3 points, a career best for him. Anssi Koivuranta (116.2 points) in ninth and Maciej Kot (115.7 points) and Andreas Kofler in tenth completed the Top 10.
Bad luck for Diethart and Wellinger
Before the jumps of 4-Hills-Tournament winner Thomas Diethart and Andreas Wellinger, the winner of the competition in Wisla, it got even worse. Due to water in the inrun track both were about 3 km/h slower than the rest of the field and therefore had no chance to show good jumps. The jury decided that both can jump again, but this fair gesture didn't pay off. The conditions didn't get better for their second try. Diethart was 43rd, Wellinger 50th.
Stoch and Schlierenzauer not among the best
World Cup leader Kamil Stoch was struggling with the conditions and came in only 17th. Good news for the Pole: His main rival Gregor Schlierenzauer was 12th and could also not score many points. Fortune and misfortune can be close neighbors on a day like this, this was shown by Ronan Lamy-Chappuis. The French achieved a career best in the World Cup in 18th. Czech Antonin Hajek in 24th and Italian Davide Bresadola in 26th could also score some World Cup points.
The next World Cup competitions will take place in Sapporo (JPN) next weekend. It is expected that many teams will not participate there with their top athletes. The final test for the Olympic Games will then be held in Willingen in two weeks.
"This was my second win in Zakopane. I can say that this is a lucky place for me and I enjoy jumping here. My shape is not at 100 % yet and I'm not showing my best jumps. I hope that it'll get better when I don't think too much about it."
Peter Prevc (SLO):
"It's always good to hear that you are considered a favorite for Gold in Sochi, but I think there are 15 other jumpers who can also win the gold medal. I will try to do my best. The conditions were difficult and there was water in the inrun track, so it was the right decision that the second round was canceled."
Richard Freitag (GER):
"I think it was a good decision to cancel the second round due to wind and rain."