Stoch wins first leg of Four Hills

Stoch wins first leg of Four Hills

OBERSTDORF, Germany – Agence France-Presse
Stoch wins first leg of Four Hills

Double Olympic champion Kamil Stoch chose an opportune moment to claim his first victory of the season on Dec. 30 as he won the first leg of the prestigious Four Hills in Oberstdorf.

The Pole, who won the Four Hills last year, was fifth after the first leg with a jump of 126 meters but a second leap of 137 meters was enough for him to rise to the top of the leaderboard.

With 279.7 points, Stoch finished more than four points ahead of tournament favorite and home hope Richard Freitag, three times a winner in the World Cup this season and hoping to lay down a marker with the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang just six weeks away.

Stoch, who claimed gold on the normal hill and large hill at Sochi in 2014, saw his fellow Pole Dawid Kubacki come third as 25,000 fans turned out to watch despite the heavy rain in the Bavarian Alps.

“They were difficult conditions. The key was to stay focused on my own job,” said the 30-year-old Stoch.

The second leg of the Four Hills, the sport’s blue riband event and a Christmas and New Year fixture of the ski jumping calendar since 1953, will also be held in Germany, at Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Jan. 1.

It then moves to Austria, to Innsbruck on Jan. 4 and Bischofshofen on Jan. 6.