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Germany’s Eric Frenzel defends Nordic combined gold after devastating breakaway

Frenzel defends Nordic combined gold

14/02/2018 at 09:40Updated 14/02/2018 at 10:10

German Eric Frenzel defended his Olympic gold in the Nordic combined after a devastating breakaway in the 10km cross-country race.

Frenzel was fifth going into the race after a jump of 106.5m scored 121.7 points, but stormed ahead of the pack in a thrilling final lap.

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The 29-year-old finished 4.8 seconds ahead of Japan’s Akito Watabe, who comfortably took silver ahead of Austria’s Lukas Klapfer.

Eric Frenzel

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When the ski jumping got underway after a half-hour delay due to high winds, Franz-Josef Rehrl of Austria recorded a superb leap of 130.6 metres to take a shock lead ahead of the cross-country skiing.

World Cup leader Watabe, third after the ski jumping, started the skiing slightly behind the leader but by the middle of the third lap he had closed the gap and moved into medal contention.

Frenzel moved clear of the group of five who had broken away, but the lead changed hands several times before the German tried to go alone on the last lap.

Eric Frenzel

Eric FrenzelGetty Images

But he could not shake off the pursuing trio of Watabe, Klapfer and Jarl Magnus Riibe until a powerful surge on the final hill enabled him to cross the line on his own.

It was the fourth Olympic medal for the 29-year-old German, who also won silver in Sochi and bronze at the Vancouver Games in 2010.

Norway's Jan Schmid, who is second in the World Cup standings, dropped out of contention after a poor ski jump.

Additional reporting from Reuters