TRONDHEIM, NORWAY – Akito Watabe was again left looking for an elusive first win as he settled for second at a Nordic combined World Cup meet in Norway on Wednesday.
In an all too familiar scenario, Watabe won the ski jumping with a leap of 137.5 meters and took a lead of 27 seconds into the 10-km cross country race.
But German superstar Eric Frenzel showed a strong race and crossed the finish line first, 15.9 seconds ahead of opponent Watabe to collect his sixth win of the season and 29th of his career. Norway’s Joergen Graabak was third.
Watabe has made the podium eight times in 12 events this season, including six runnerup finishes.
For the first 5 km, leader Watabe skied an even, strong race but ultimately he was no match once again for World Cup leader Frenzel.
Frenzel caught up with the Japanese around the 5-km mark and pulled away on the way out on the last lap. From then on, there was never a doubt about Frenzel’s win.
“I don’t know how to beat Eric at the moment,” Watabe admitted. “But I am pretty satisfied today because I was skiing quite badly yesterday.
“I’m still struggling to improve my cross country part but I am really jumping well and still continuing to make the podium.”
Also for Japan, Watabe’s younger brother Yoshito produced a season-best eighth, while Takehiro Watanabe was 21st, Taihei Kato was 26th and Hideaki Nagai was 45th.