World Cup king Akito Watabe secures comeback win in Schonach
Overall Nordic combined World Cup champion Akito Watabe continued his superb season by producing a remarkable comeback to triumph in the men's 10km individual Gundersen in Schonach.
The Japanese superstar secured the first crystal globe of his career by finishing third in Klingenthal a week ago and followed that up by coming from behind to claim a sixth World Cup win of the campaign.
Watabe didn't have it all his own way, scoring just 104.6 points in the ski jumping to lie 11th, translating to a deficit of 1:04 minutes to leader Jarl Magnus Riiber heading into the cross-country.
But on the soft snow in Germany, the 29-year-old steadily overtook his rivals one by one and caught up with the leading group after two-thirds of the race.
Having recuperated somewhat, he made his decisive attack on the final loop and left everyone else in his wake to cross the line in 26:07.2 – Norwegian prodigy Riiber settling for second, 6.3 seconds back, with Austrian veteran Bernhard Gruber taking bronze.
Watabe moves on to 1395 points in the overall World Cup standings with Norway's Jan Schmid and Germany's Fabian Riessle guaranteed to come second and third, although the order of those two will be decided in the final race of the season – a 15km individual Gundersen – in Schonach on Sunday.