Ryoyu Kobayashi has won in Innsbruck to make it three out of three at this year's edition of the Four Hills Tour. He is looking to become the first Japanese overall Four Hills champion in two decades.
Ryoyu Kobayashi had jumps of 136.5 and 131 meters for 267 points to win the Innsbruck event on Friday, the third leg of the Four Hills Tour. Austria's Stefan Kraft finished second on the day (129.5 and 130.5 meters, 254 points), ahead of Andreas Stjernen (131 and 126 meters, 254 points).
Germany's Markus Eisenbichler, who had been Kobayashi's closest challenger in the first two events in Oberstdorf and Garmisch-Partenkirchen, had a difficult outing, finishing 13th on the day with jumps of 129 and 123.5 meters for 224 points. This meant having gone into the day just 2.3 points behind Kobayashi in the overall standings, he now trails the Japanese by 45.5 points – or about 25 meters.
Kobayashi is in the driver's seat as the ski jumpers head to Bischofshofen for the fourth and final event, and has an excellent chance of becoming the first Japanese to win the overall title since Kazuyoshi Funaki won it in 1997-1998.
In the last quarter century, 21 of the 25 leaders after three events went on to win the title. He also has the opportunity to become just the third to sweep all four events in a single Tour after Germany's Sven Hannawald did so in 2001-02 and Kamil Stoch duplicated the feat last season.
pfd/mp (dpa, SID)