Tara Geraghty-Moats (USA) and Akito Watabe (JPN) were the winners of the first individual event of the Summer Grand Prix 2019. The American won by a large margin of +1:48.3, while Watabe distanced Franz-Josef Rehrl (AUT) by 1.5 seconds. Yoshito Watabe completed the podium on the men’s side, Stefaniya Nadymova (RUS) and Jenny Nowak (GER) claimed the podium positions for the women.
Difficult wind conditions made ski jumping in Oberwiesenthal very difficult today. Both for the men and for the women, the jumping rounds had to be cancelled and the PCR was used.
On Friday, Tara Geraghty-Moats (USA) had shown a jump of 98 metres and a point total of 116.5 points put her on top of the result list with an advantage of 17 seconds at the start. The American was be followed by strong Russian Stefaniya Nadymova, who jumped to 96 metres. Gyda Westvold Hansen (NOR) was third with 90.5 metres (101.6 p.) and started her race at a respectful distance of one minute behind Geraghty-Moats.
Behind Westvold Hansen, the field was tightly packed with Annika Sieff (ITA) starting at +1:09, Marte Leinan Lund followed at +1:12, Veronica Gianmoena (ITA) at +1:20 and Jenny Nowak (GER) and Annalena Slamik (AUT) started their races at +1:43 and +1:47.
Geraghty-Moats skied a lonely race at the top, overlapping many of the competitors on the way to the finish. At half-time point, her advantage had already grown to almost a minute and the dominator or the Women’s Nordic Combined circuit extended her lead to one minute and 48 seconds in the end. With her result, Geraghty-Moats set the best jump and the best cross-country time of 15:49.4, proving once more she is the the most complete female Nordic Combined athlete in the world right now.
Russia’s Stefaniya Nadymova impressed on the jumping hill and skied fast enough to defend the second place by almost a minute in the end. German Jenny Nowak delighted the audience with a courageous race and skied to the podium from position seven. She finished +2:34.4 after Geraghty-Moats. The second-fastest woman on track was Anastasia Gocharova, who skied from position 16 to a final sixth rank.
On the men’s side, the Japanese team struck back with a vengeance after not being on start in the Mixed Team event yesterday. Young Japanese Ryota Yamamoto was the best on the jumping hill with a great jump of 105 metres. 136.5 points put him in the lead of the race by 10 seconds. Yamamoto’s closest pursuers were his teammates, the brothers Watabe. Akito claimed the second place with 103 metres (134 p.), Yoshito showed 99 metres (128.3 p.) Translated into delays at the start line, this meant +0:10 seconds for Akito and +0:33 seconds for Yoshito.
Franz-Josef Rehrl (AUT) ranked fourth with +0:46, Terence Weber (GER) and Christian Deuschl (AUT) shared the fifth place and took up their races at +0:52 respectively.
The race was a tactical affair that had Akito and Yoshito Watabe and Franz-Josef Rehrl working very well together to keep their advantage. At the beginning, Ryota Yamamoto skied together with the three leaders but had to let go around the 3.5 km point of the race. Behind the leading trio, fast German Vinzenz Geiger worked his way to the front and had closed the gap to 14.2 seconds at the half-way point of the race. After that, he ran out of steam and finally finished on position 17 only.
After his Mixed Team victory yesterday, Samuel Costa was in impressive shape again and appeared behind the three leaders and together with Martin Fritz and Johannes Lamparter and several other athletes, a big group chased the brothers Watabe and Franz-Josef Rehrl going out on the last lap.
In the end, the leaders proved too strong and 2017/18 overall World Cup winner Akito Watabe rewarded himself with a victory, while Franz-Josef Rehrl took the second place and Yoshito Watabe surprised with position three. Martin Fritz had the best end of big pursuing group and finished fourth, Samuel Costa was fifth and Johannes Lamparter sixth, between +21.2 and +29.4 behind the winner.