Team Olympic Champion Severin Freund won the World Cup competition in Falun, Sweden. At this final test for the Nordic World Championships next year Peter Prevc came in second and took the lead in the overall World Cup.
The third place went to veteran Noriaki Kasai. Double Olympic Champion Kamil Stoch finished fourth.
Lots of hill records
The competition was on a high level, especially in the final round where three new hill records were set, two of which by Freund. After Kamil Stoch set the first record in the qualification with 129.5 m, Freund jumped on 133 m in the first round. Stoch, who landed at 123 m in the first round, then jumped on 134.5 m in the final. But Freund, already with a clear lead after the first round, fought back with 135 m. At the end he scored a total of 266.1 points and had a lead of 15.9 points over Prevc. "It was a great competition. When see the hill you already know that it might be a bit windy, but I definitely enjoyed it. It's too early to make any predictions for the World Championships here next year because, first of all, you have to be in a good shape then. Even if I didn't win an individual medal in Sochi it meant a lot to me that I was in a good shape there," said the winner.
The fight for the following ranks was a lot closer. With jumps on 125.5 m and 133.5 m Prevc moved up from tenth to second and came in 1.4 points ahead of Noriaki Kasai. "In the first round I made a mistake on the table and so I didn't have enough speed in the flight position. My second jump was better. I have the yellow bib again now and I think that the fight with Kamil has just begun. Kasai, who obviously felt pain in his knee after his jumps on 133 m and 130.5 m, was only 0.5 points ahead of Stoch. "The snow was very soft, so I had problems controlling my right ski at the landing. Because of the pain in my knee I was a bit scared that I would jump too far in the second round. My goal now is to win the overall World Cup", told the 41-year-old.
Scandinavians in the Top 10
Best Austrian was Stefan Kraft in fifth with 246.7 points. Anders Bardal and Anders Fannemel shared the sixth place with 244.9 points, followed by Simon Ammann with 242.8 points. Right before the home events in Lahti and Kuopio, Finland's Lauri Asikainen is in a very good shape and achieved a career best ninth place with 241.8 points. Maciej Kot completed the Top 10. After they could not win a medal at the Olympics, the Slovenes showed a good team performance today. Jernej Damjan and Tomaz Naglic came in 11th and 12th, Jurij Tepes was 16th. Anders Jacobsen and Andreas Kofler achieved good results in 13th and 14th. Michael Hayboeck, who won both qualifications at the Olympics, was 15th.
Schlierenzauer not among the best
Gregor Schlierenzauer had to deal with yet another disappointment. He lost some ground in the fight for the overall title in 18th. Apart from Freund, it was also not a very good day for the German team. Karl Geiger, Andreas Wank and Michael Neumayer finished 20th, 22nd and 27th and could at least score some World Cup points, while Andreas Wellinger, Marinus Kraus and Richard Freitag could not qualify for the final round. Dimitry Vassiliev of Russia came in 23rd, Kaarel Nurmsalu also qualified for the second round and was 28th.
Prevc passes Stoch
With 988 points Peter Prevc is now leading the overall World Cup ahead of Kamil Stoch (971 points). Noriaki Kasai is third with 806 points, Severin Freund is now fourth, 79 points behind Kasai. Gregor Schlierenzauer is fifth, already more than 200 points behind the first.
The World Cup continues with three competitions in Lahti (FIN) this weekend. The first individual competition will already take place on Friday at 5:00 pm CET, a team competition will be held on Saturday, followed by the second individual competition on Sunday.