Kamil Stoch won the Four Hills Tournament event in Innsbruck, Austria and Dawid Kubacki again proved his consistency by finishing third, the Poles were separated by a runner-up from Slovenia, Anze Lanisek.
Stoch was already in the lead after the first round, 0.7 pts ahead of the Slovenian. The rest of the non-Polish favourites of the tournament: the Norwegian Halvor Egner Granerud, as well as Markus Eisenbichler and Karl Geiger from Germany made disappointingly short jumps and were then classified in distant positions.
This opened the door for the Poles to attack first place or, at least, to solidify their position in the overall standings with the last event in Bischofshofen ahead. Halfway through, Dawid Kubacki, Piotr Żyła and Andrzej Stękała were fifth, sixth and seventh respectively.
Stękała’s underperformance in the second jump saw him take up a distant 18th place, one place ahead of Aleksander Zniszczoł, the fifth Pole to have made it to the final. Despite the fairly underwhelming start, the top Polish jumpers finished with a flourish, with both Żyła and Kubacki moved up the ranks undeterred by inclement wind conditions.
Both were overtaken by the penultimate jumper, Lanisek, owing much to his high score for style. At that time, it was certain that two Poles would make it to the podium, but the final order was to be determined by Stoch. The leader soared 130 metres, which was the longest jump in the second round, and took his first victory in this World Cup season with a 12-point margin.
The 33-year-old Pole prolonged his incredible streak, winning at least one event annually for the 11th consecutive year. All in all, Stoch has won 37 World Cup competitions, only two fewer than the legendary Adam Małysz.
After 6 out of 8 rounds, Kamil Stoch leads the Four Hills Tournament standings on 809.9 points, with an edge of 15.2 points over his compatriot Dawid Kubacki. Granerud is third on 789.3, while Geiger is fourth, 4.1 points behind the Norwegian. It is almost certain that the tournament’s winner will emerge from these four athletes.
The German-Austrian competition certainly belonged to the Polish jumpers in recent days, as Dawid Kubacki won the New Year event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, setting a new hill record.
The last event of the tournament will take place on January 6 in Bischofshofen, with the qualifying stage scheduled for the day before.