“Happiest man in this area!”
Christiansen was filled with emotions after his first victory of the season. “How can I describe it? It was kind of the toughest Christmas I ever had after not qualifying for the team in Oberhof. From not being good enough for Oberhof to being the best in the world today is kind of crazy; kind of a crazy week. I can’t really describe it, but today I know I ma the happiest man in this area!”
“Bit afraid of the last loop”
Continuing about the last loop that carried him to victory, “I started full of energy today. I was a little bit afraid of the last loop. It isn’t my strength in these individual races. I tend to use a lot of energy in the first and second loops to keep up the speed. But these tracks are my favorite for sure. After training in -30 degrees at home for Christmas with the slowest conditions I ever had, coming here to this almost icy perfect fast conditions felt kind of easy even if I had to push. It was not easy for sure, but it was something else training at home in -30. Maybe it was a good choice that I stayed one more week at home.”
Italy’s Tommaso Giacomel, after a brilliant anchor leg culminating in a third-place finish in Thursday’s men’s relay, equaled his personal-best in second place, with one standing penalty, 16.9 seconds back.
Norway’s Tarjei Boe shot clean in third place, 20.1 seconds back, his fifth podium appearance this season. His third place vaulted him to first in the World Cup Sprint Score; he remains second in the World Cup Total Score behind his brother JT who finished ninth today. France’s Emilien Jacquelin, after shooting clean and leading Christiansen out of the standing stage, struggled in the last loop, but still finished in a season-best fourth place, 20.9 seconds back. Norway’s Johannes Dale-Skjevdal, with two penalties finished fifth, 23 seconds back. Germany’s Justus Strelow, with one penalty rounded out the top six, 33.8 seconds back.
After the less-than-perfect weather last week, the perfectly sunny, windless, fast-track conditions in Ruhpolding’s fourth competition day seem almost boring, but very welcome. Despite no wind on the range, Tarjei and Christiansen both shot carefully and slow to clean, while Giacomel combined a fast standing stage with the fourth fastest ski time to get his second career podium.
Photos: IBU/Jaroslav Svoboda, Nordic focus