At the third stop of this year's FIS Summer Grand Prix, Magnus Moan from Norway managed to grab the the top spot of the podium. The Austrian team also showed an impressive performance with Mario Stecher claiming the second rank and Bernhard Gruber coming in as third.
Earlier today, Berni Gruber won the ski jumping part of the event with a jump of 129 m (139.2 points) and claimed a head start of six seconds ahead of his closest followers, the two Frenchmen Maxime Laheurte (127.5 m; 137.8 points) and Jason Lamy Chappuis (127 m; 136.8 points, 10 seconds back). The brothers Watabe who ranked first and third in yesterday's PCR were also doing well today with a fourth (Akito) and fifth (Yoshito) place after the ski jumping portion. On the whole, the ski jumping competition was a close one, as the Top Ten competitors were within 34 seconds of each other.
In the roller-ski race which was held on a city course in front of many spectators in the centre of Predazzo, Magnus Moan managed to turn a 1:16 disadvantage around and quickly gained on the leading group consisting of Gruber, Laheurte and Lamy Chappuis. Afther the third lap, Johannes Rydzek, Magnus Moan and Mario Stecher had closed the gap to Gruber, who had been in the lead until then. On the last lap, every of these athletes tried attacks to break away but in the end, Moan won with a finish line sprint and an advantage of 0.5 seconds ahead of Stecher and Gruber. Johannes Rydzek ranked fourth, teammate Eric Frenzel fifth and Janne Ryynänen from Finland sixth.
Mario Stecher: "Today, I simply tried to to my own race, I didn't really plan to ski together with Magnus but fortunately, we already found each other on the second lap and were able to alternate to make the pace and gain on the leading group. In the end, you have to be lucky to win a finish line sprint and against Magnus, it's very hard. But I am very satisfied on the whole. I am on a good way."
Besides being happy with his impressive performance, Magnus Moan still saw room for improvement: "It was a great day for me, although I am not quite satisfied with my jumping. I have jumped much better during training in Norway. I wasn't 100 % on today but still 1:16 behind was okay and I knew that my cross-country shape was really good. Overall I am really happy."
With this result, Berni Gruber extends his lead in the FIS Summer Grand Prix overall to 405 points. He is followed by Todd Lodwick (180) and Akito Watabe (173). Gruber is showing no signs of going easy on his SGP overall competitors: "Predazzo is a very good place for me, the hills suit me very much. And although you think the track is flat, you have to work all the time. And frankly, Magnus and Mario were a force to be reckoned with, coming from behind. In the end, I was very tired and couldn't keep up with Magnus. But I am very happy and I'll attack with full force in Oberstdorf again."
The FIS Nordic Combined Summer Grand Prix will go on with two competitions in Oberstdorf (GER) next weekend.
You can find the full result lists here: