Austria is in the Olympic team competition of the Nordic Combined after the large hill jumping with a narrow share as the leader on a medal course. Martin Fritz, Johannes Lamparter, Lukas Greiderer and Franz-Josef Rehrl start the cross-country skiing over 4 x 5 km in Zhangjiakou at 12:00 (CET) with an eight-second advantage over Norway. Defending champion Germany is eleven seconds back in third place, while Japan is fourth and only twelve seconds behind.
Rehrl sailed as the final jumper on 141 m and is therefore the furthest of the red-white-red quartet. “It was a really good jump. I’m quite calm, I was very nervous before that,” said the Styrian. “It’s cool when you can show such a jump in a team competition, that made me a bit proud.” Lamparter jumped 140 m: “It was a really cool jump. It was one of the farthest I’ve done. I’m very satisfied.”
After the double world champion, Lukas Greiderer had come to 130 m. “It was a great fit. The team competition is always a highlight. You have a different pressure there, the pump beats differently,” the 28-year-old knew. Martin Fritz, who came into the team for Mario Seidl, gave the starting jump, the Styrian jumped to a passable 121 m for him: “It’s good for me that I made a relatively good jump in the competition.”
Fresh snow conditions ensured confidence in the squad of head coach Christoph Eugen for the 4 x 5 km cross-country skiing. Fritz: “It’s relatively comfortable to run in fresh snow. It’s slow and I think that suits us all.” Similarly, Greiderer: “For me, as a good runner, it’s pretty good if the race lasts longer.” Lamparter: “Now we’re attacking fully on the trail.”
Rehrl saw the starting position as “a tight box. I think everything is in there. We have a goal and we’re keeping that in mind.” According to the Styrian, one advantage is “that all the big nations have a slightly worse runner with them. We now have the momentum on our side.” Jarl Magnus Riiber is not with the Norwegians and has already left, with the Germans Eric Frenzel is also coming from the corona quarantine.
Austria won Olympic bronze in 2018 and was also third at the last three world championships in terms of jumping lead. At least that could happen again with only four nations eligible for the podium places, because the remaining six teams are already hopelessly behind.