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Sports

Tande wins in Innsbruck to take overall lead in Four Hills Tournament

Daniel Andre Tande has taken the overall lead in the Four Hills Tournament after winning the third event. This came after the the day's ski jumping had to be cut short due to wind and the onset of darkness.

The third leg of this year's Four Hills Tournament, in Innsbruck, was marred by gusty wind conditions, which meant that the first round of jumps took so long, that organizers decided to scrap the second round because there wouldn't be enough time left with sufficient light to safely complete it.

This meant that the day' results were based on just one jump from each competitor, some of them under more difficult conditions than others. The round took 90 minutes to complete, due to the jumpers often having to wait for gusts to die down so that they could complete their jumps safely.

Tande 'lucky' to win

Daniel Andre Tande, who won the second Four Hills event in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on New Year's Day, won with a jump of 128.5 meters for 125.7 points. The result took the Norwegian's total points to 710.3, giving him a slim overall lead in the tournament.

"I was extremely lucky," Tande told German public broadcaster ARD afterwards. "But it is an outdoor sport."

Tande's Norwegian teammate Robert Johansson came second with 123.1 points, and Evgeniy Klimov of Russia was third with 119.1.

The previous overall leader, Kamil Stoch, who crashed during his practice run, finished fourth on the day with 120.5 points for a total of 708.6.

Ski nordisch/Skispringen: Weltcup, Vierschanzentournee Markus Eisenbichler (picture-alliance/dpa/M. Schrader)

Germany's Markus Eisenbichler had a disappointing jump, which saw him tumble down the overall standings

Stefan Kraft of Austria, who had qualified in first place in Innsbruck on Tuesday - and won the first event at Oberstdorf - was suffering from stomach flu and finished in 28th place and is in third overall.

The best German on the Wednesday was Stephan Leyhe, whose jump of 113 meters earned him 120.5 points, good enough for 11th spot and eighth overall.

Andreas Wellinger, Karl Geiger and Richard Freitag came in 14th, 16th and 30th respectively.

It was a disappointing day for Markus Eisenbichler, who had arrived in Innsbruck in fourth-place overall, was only able to muster a jump of 112 meters - a 29th-place finish that dropped him down to sixth.

Jury criticized

There was much criticism of the jury for the way they handled the situation. German coach Werner Schuster complained that Eisenbichler had been rushed to make their jumps.

"I would have hoped that they would have done more to look after the best jumpers, that they had allowed them to wait for better conditions. By that time it was clear that it would be cut short," he said.

Four-time Olympic gold medalist Simon Ammann was less diplomatic, describing the fact that the event went ahead under such high winds as "a joke."

"I have never experienced anything like it," he said. "I was close to pulling out. I am not 22 anymore, and I have a family."

pfd/ (dpa, SID, AP)

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