Bjoern Kircheisen shines as Watabe thrills Sapporo crowd
German domination at the Nordic Combined World Cup continued as Bjoern Kircheisen took the honours by the narrowest of margins in Sapporo.
The 33-year-old battled back from his 20-second disadvantage over home favourite Akito Watabe, before eventually edging out the Japanese skier on the line by just 0.7 seconds.
Norway’s Mikko Kokslien rounded off the top three, while there was more German success as Jakob Lange placed fourth having finished the ski jump in 15th spot – his career-best position in the competition.
But the day belonged to Kircheisen, as he and Watabe shared the work after coming together during the first lap.
From that moment it was always set to be a two-man race, with Kircheisen taking the spoils, getting the favourable position on the final curve of the race.
Japan’s Hisaki Nagamine had given the home crowds a thrill by leading after the ski jump with his effort of 135.9 points, but in the end he could only finish 21st.
But it’s a German triumvirate that still lead the way in the overall World Cup standings, with Johannes Rydzek flying the flag highest with 1390 points to his name.
While Eric Frenzel remains in second, 34 points adrift, with Fabian Riessle sitting third on 949.
Watabe's second place on home snow sees him to fourth in the overall standings with 726 points, while Kircheisen’s victory takes him to a 640-point haul, the fourth German in the top five.