Geiger triumphs at the start in Oberstdorf
Status: 7:55 p.m. | Reading time: 4 minutes
Local hero Karl Geiger made a sensational start to the Four Hills Tournament and won the first competition. For Markus Eisenbichler, on the other hand, the dream of touring triumph has moved a bit into the distance.
Was for a game of nerves. Karl Geiger was ready to sail into the valley as the leader after the jump and the last athlete of the second round. He looked down at his hometown Oberstdorf, the opening victory at the Four Hills Tournament in mind. And then the wind came.
Geiger had to step aside and wait. But this man currently has nerves of steel: Ski flying world champion, become a father, positive corona test – all in just four days. The quarantine had just expired. Uncertainty? Not with Geiger. Not even now when he was finally allowed to jump. A leap at 136.5 meters, anxious waiting to see if it was enough – and then he cheered the first victory of an Oberstdorfer in Oberstdorf at the start of the tour since Max Bolkart 1959.
Geiger, who relegated Poland’s Olympic champion Kamil Stoch and Norwegian Marius Lindvik to places two and three, has thus retained every chance after the first stop to actually celebrate the coup in the overall classification. “I don’t know how I did it myself,” he said. For Markus Eisenbichler, on the other hand, who started the traditional event as Germany’s greatest hope, the dream of a tour triumph after a failed first jump has moved a bit into the distance. But he is not completely out of the running. He operated an astonishing damage limitation in the second round and finished fifth behind top favorite Halvor Egner Granerud from Norway.
A bang, one favorite fall after the other
The longing for the tour triumph is great in Germany – among fans, jumpers and supporters. After all, it is now 19 years ago that Sven Hannawald won on all four hills and with this Grand Slam, as the last German eagle to date, secured the tour triumph. He himself flew in second place the following year, after years of downturn Severin Freund (2016), Andreas Wellinger (2018) and Eisenbichler (2019) always just missed the overall victory and always had to admit defeat to a high-flyer.
“You run after it all a bit. That makes it difficult. The conditions are now very, very good. But they were already in the past, ”said Martin Schmitt before the first competition. Eisenbichler was then combative: “If I do my stuff, I know that I can beat Granerud,” he said of the top favorite. “I hope that I can win the tour.” Geiger was a little more cautious after the forced break because of his corona infection and the cold start right on the tour. Still optimistic.
The beginning has now been made. At least for violinists. In other words: one came through. The 27-year-old flew to a good 127 meters in the first round in bad wind conditions. Breathe a sigh of relief in the German team. But then, with the conditions still bad, there was a bang, one favorite crash after the other. This also included Eisenbichler, who landed after 118 meters and was only 27th.
Granerud did a little better and kept his chance for a place in ninth place. Also disappointing: Of the other ten Germans, only Severin Freund made it into the second round. “Karl showed a really good jump,” said national coach Stefan Horngacher, relieved. “Unfortunately Markus didn’t make the jump at the take-off table well. The important thing is: we have one in front. “
“I was really happy for him”
Eisenbichler actually wanted to be there too. With a lot of anger in his stomach, he catapulted himself to 142 meters in the second round – only one and a half meters below the hill record. “Karl had a really good jump in the first round – that made me really happy for him,” said Eisenbichler without envy. “My first attempt wasn’t good. Now I was under no pressure. Awesome jump in the second run for me. ”It took a long time until a subsequent jumper pushed him from the front. After a long injury misery, Freund came in 25th.
The two Polish co-favorites Stoch, two-time tour triumphant and three-time Olympic champion, as well as defending champion Dawid Kubacki were at least partially unimpressed by the events since Sunday. The Polish team had chaotic and nerve-wracking hours behind them.
A positive Corona test with Klemens Muranka on Sunday had actually led to the exclusion of the entire team from qualification and from the opening competition in Oberstdorf. On Monday evening, however, Muranka and his teammates received completely negative results. The responsible health department then lifted the quarantine for the team. The result: Stoch, second from Oberstdorf, is now chasing his third tour victory, Kubacki jumped to 15th place.
After a day’s break, the athletes will continue with the qualification for the New Year’s competition in Garmisch-Partenkirchen (2 p.m., ARD / Eurosport). An event that Karl Geiger has fond memories of: in 2019, he jumped to second place there.