Bernhard Gruber wins Schwarzwaldpokal

Bernhard Gruber (AUT, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) won the Schwarzwaldpokal as part of the Nordic Combined World Cup in Schonach (GER). Overall World Cup winner Jarl Magnus Riiber (NOR, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) finished third.

The competition was marked by extremely difficult weather conditions. Already the provisional competition round on Friday took place under absolutely irregular conditions. The biggest problem was not the gusty wind, but the inrun which did not withstand the rain masses of 90 l/m² at spring temperatures and broke. The jumping round was carried out to the end, but did not count then. In the morning a new try was started with the PCR. Overnight, the inrun track was newly iced, but gusty wind caused uneven conditions and also about the inrun track there was criticism again. "That was not fair, the track speed decreased by over 3km/h compared to the beginning of the PCR and the wind was changeable. You needed luck on your side", was said after the PCR, which fortunately was not used - at least today. After the track was salted again before the competition round, the wind conditions became more controllable in time to carry out a more or less fair competition jump.

However, the wind was still gusty from the side and for some jumpers the wind blew slanting from the front, some rather slanting from behind, so that the athletes continued to need luck. A lot of it had Jarl Magnus Riiber, who had to discontinue his jump from an enormous height at 108 meters in a strong wind diagonally from the front. He had already shown a very similar jump to 108.5 meters in the PCR and set a new hill record. Due to bad style points, it was not enough for the first place and he started 21 seconds behind Yoshito Watabe (JPN, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) into the cross country race - but the Norwegian was first and foremost glad to have survived the jump safely. After about 50 meters, he spread his arms wide to slow down the jump: "I'm pretty scared and discontinued early. When the jury salted the inrun track during the break, the inrun speed became so much faster. I'm glad that everything went well", he said. Race director Lasse Ottesen defended the decision not to shorten the inrun length for one of the best jumpers: "He had very bad conditions, but when he got green, he suddenly had the best conditions of all."

After the first of four 2.5-kilometer laps, five athletes caught up with Japanese Yoshito Watabe, but Terence Weber (GER, Fischer skis, bindings and boots), who finished third after jumping, could not keep up the pace for long. Three kilometers from the finish, only three athletes fought for the podium positions. Jarl Magnus Riiber let the Austrians do the work. But what looked like a Norwegian tactic turned out to be an unexpected weakness: Lukas Greiderer attacked 500 meters from the finish and the Norwegian was not able to follow the others. On the home straight, Bernhard Gruber came out of the slipstream of his compatriot and secured his seventh World Cup victory - the first after three years break: "I had a good starting position for the race, I made a good jump, and I had a good headwind. That was the basis. I feel pretty strong throughout the season, I have energies in my upper arms and power in my thighs, so I was able to make good use of that today. It was a very difficult cross-country race because the track was quite deep and fairly slow. I lost at the WSC against Riiber on the home stretch and I decided that if someday I would come to the finish line with him again, I would not let his escape from me. I did it very well today, I still had enough energies in the end. Incredibly awesome, the day is shining, that's good for me." With this victory, which crowned his more than successful last season phase, he prevented Riibers twelfth victory this season, with which the Norwegian could have made history. Vinzenz Geiger (GER, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) took fourth place from the chasing group in front of Ilkka Herola (FIN, Fischer skis, bindings and boots). Johannes Rydzek (GER, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) came in seventh, Akito Watabe (JPN, Fischer skis, bindings and boots) took ninth place.

=> HS106/10km Schonach (GER)