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Sunday, February 5, 2023

The Golden Eagle is within reach

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“Fourth – I know that quite well here. Nevertheless, it was awesome in front of this crowd.” Austria’s ski jumping star Stefan Kraft narrowly missed the podium in front of 18,700 spectators on Innsbruck’s Bergisel – as in 2020 – but still continued his journey to Bischofshofen with a smile, where the 71st tour today (4.30 p.m., ORF 1) with the qualification and on Friday (4.30 p.m., ORF 1) will end with the Epiphany event.

Norway’s Halvor Egner Granerud may not win the Grand Slam, but he does have a hand on the object of desire, the Golden Eagle. For the first time Innsbruck did not become a stumbling block for the 26-year-old, with second place – 3.5 points behind the Polish overall World Cup leader Dawid Kubacki – the winner of Oberstdorf and Garmisch can really live very well.

“I was under a lot of pressure”

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“It was very exciting. I was under a lot of pressure and I’m glad I didn’t score 15 points or more. I’m super happy with how I mastered the Bergisel,” said Granerud, who is preparing to end a long dry spell . The last Norwegian Tournament winner to date was Anders Jacobsen – 16 years ago. Granerud has an impressive 23.3 points on Kubacki.

In front of the eyes of the last red-white-red Innsbruck winner Gregor Schlierenzauer (that was in 2013), the ÖSV-Adler remained without a podium place in the 3rd tournament competition, but head coach Andreas Widholzl can be satisfied with the performance. His squadron ended up in the top field in the compact collective.

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In addition to Kraft, who was 3.8 points behind the third-placed Slovenian Anze Lanisek, Michael Hayböck was also convincing in seventh, Daniel Tschofenig in eighth and Jan Hörl in ninth.

The publicity drum for the showdown in Pongau, where 20,000 to 25,000 visitors are expected, is stirred. “I’m satisfied, it was an improvement compared to the day before and compared to the trial run,” said Hayboeck, who knows what he needs to work on. The jump causes him certain problems. “It’s a bit exhausting at the moment when landing, it almost takes a skier’s masterpiece for me to stand there,” explained the 31-year-old, who, according to his own statement, should like Bischofshofen even better than Innsbruck.

The statistical data support that. The Theninger mastered the Paul-Ausserleitner-Schanze 2015 as a victor, in 2016 he was third, in 2017 second. An impressive series.

Not only Hayböck raves about Bischofshofen, but also Tschofenig, who is seventh in the tour rankings directly behind Kraft. “This is one of my favorite hills, I’m really looking forward to it,” said the Carinthian.

Maybe it will work in Salzburger Land with an anniversary victory for the ÖSV. It would be the 25th, the 24th last year went to the convalescent local hero Daniel Huber. Kraft is confident of a complete success after the disaster in Garmisch. “I’m in a good mood, Gemma’s. I want to continue where I left off on the Bergisel. Then that’s fine, there’s not much missing,” explained the 29-year-old. The countdown is running.

more from Nordic skiing

Strong as a collective, but without a chance of winning the gold eagle

Teresa Stadlober on the up

Ski jumping: Kubacki won in Innsbruck ahead of tour leader Granerud

Kubacki in Bergisel-Quali ahead, Granerud weakened

Alexander Zambarloukos

Sports Editor


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