You can normally hear the noise from crazed fans on Oberstdorf's Schattenbergschanze reverberate around the surrounding valleys.

This year we were denied their cacophony of cow bells and they were denied the chance to cheer one of their own to a brilliant win.

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Home hero Karl Geiger, born and raised in this town in the Bavarian Alps, banked one of the victories of his career in the opening event of ski jumping's prestigious Four Hills tournament.

Second here 12 months ago, the 27-year-old has enjoyed a rollercoaster few weeks, recovering from coronavirus, winning the ski flying world title and becoming a father, when wife Franziska gave birth to daughter Luisa.

And this win, the first by a home ski jumper since Severin Freund five years ago, sparked more joyous scenes in an otherwise eerily quiet venue.

'He's there!' - Geiger wins Four Hills opener

In swirling conditions, with the wind direction shifting, Geiger went furthest in the opening round and then produced another big leap under pressure to snatch victory.

The last man to jump, he held a two metre advantage over Polish leader Kamel Stoch, the two-time Four Hills champion and one of only three to complete the 'Grand Slam' by winning each of the events in a frenetic 10-day period.

But the German held his nerve as the wind changed direction moments before he jumped, banking the seventh – and surely most prized – World Cup win of his career.

Stoch was only cleared to compete hours beforehand, after Polish athletes received the green light from medics following a double negative Covid test by team-mate Klemens Muranka.

He took second - his 100th World Cup podium finish - while Norway's Marius Lindvik seized third with team-mate and World Cup leader Halvor Egner Granerud, who arrived here on the back of five straight victories, narrowly back in fourth.

Germany's Markus Eisenbichler, the only other man to win a World Cup this year, produced the best jump of the competition to move from 27th after the first round to fifth, keeping alive his overall titles hopes ahead of events in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Innsbruck and Bischofshofen.

But Geiger, who was third on the overall Four Hills rankings last year, is now the one to beat with defending champion, Poland's Dawid Kubacki, only able to manage a distant 15th place.

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