Berlin – Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber earned his 35th Nordic Combined World Cup win in Germany on Saturday, just managing to hold off Japan’s fast-finishing Akito Watabe in a sprint to the line.
Riiber started the 10-kilometer cross-country ski leg in Klingenthal, with a six-second advantage over Watabe, finishing the season’s penultimate race in 26 minutes, 25.5 seconds. Watabe crossed just 0.7 seconds behind.
“The strong wind made it tough but I’m satisfied because I had a good jump,” said Watabe, who landed a 138.5-meter leap.
“I pushed myself too hard too soon in the cross-country race and tried to beat Riiber, but it didn’t work this time,” he said.
Riiber, who has been dominant this season, scored his eighth victory in 14 races. He secured the overall World Cup title with Saturday’s win.
Ryota Yamamoto set a hill record of 149 meters in the ski jump leg, but a low judges’ score after a shaky landing relegated him to third for the start of the ski leg, some 12 seconds behind Riiber.
Riiber’s now-insurmountable point total in the overal standings is 1,040, ahead of Germany’s Vinzenz Geiger on 770 and Watabe on 728, having accumulated 80 points on Saturday.
The season is due to finish on Sunday with another men’s individual Nordic combined event in Klingenthal.
Watabe’s quest for second in the overall standings rests on his chance of scoring 43 points more than Geiger. On Saturday, Geiger finished just 16th, netting him 15 points, meaning a similar result will be more than enough for Watabe to overtake him.
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