With the Beijing 2022 Olympic Games now transformed into recent history, the Nordic Combined World Cup is preparing to face its final rush. Over the weekend the maximum circuit will experience yet another reincarnation of one of its “Classic Monuments” . In fact, the athletes will compete in Lahti , the capital of the Päijät-Häme region, located about 100 km north-east of Helsinki.
This is the location where the largest number of first-level individual competitions has so far been held. There are 53 of them, of which nine with world championship value diluted in seven different editions of the World Cup (1926, 1938, 1958, 1978, 1989, 2001, 2017). Lahti overtook Oslo, stopping at 52, just last year, earning itself the role of the most used location by the Nordic combined. On the other hand, in these parts the tradition is now centuries old. The weekend tests will be included in the so-called Lahti Ski Games, or Salpausselän Kisat , an event born in 1923 and canceled only three times in history (1930 due to lack of snow, 1940 due to the Winter War, 1942 due to absence of funds).
So far, between the World Cup and the World Cup, twenty-eight athletes have managed to harpoon at least one success on these snows. Among them the German Johannes Rydzek stands out, the only man capable of winning 5 times (2011, 2014, double gold medal 2017 and 2018).
Including the Bavarian, there are five active combinatists who have already excelled in Lahti. There are 3 statements for Eric Frenzel (2011, 2014, 2017) and Akito Watabe (2015, 2020, 2021). He celebrated Fabian Rießle (2016, 2017) on 2 occasions, while Jørgen Graabak (2019) also won 1 .
Looking instead to the podiums , there are ten men still in action to boast top-three finishes in Päijät-Häme. This ranking is instead led by Frenzel , pushed into double figures.
10 – FRENZEL Eric [GER] (3-6-1)
9 – RYDZEK Johannes [GER] (5-1-3)
9 – WATABE Akito [JPN] (3-5-1)
3 – RIEßLE Fabian [GER] (2-0-1)
3 – GRAABAK Jørgen [NOR] (1-1-1)
2 – GEIGER Vinzenz [GER] (0-1-1)
1 – HIRVONEN Eero [FIN] (0-1-0)
1 – RIIBER Jarl Magnus [NOR] (0-1-0)
1 – SEIDL Mario [AUT] (0-0-1)
1 – YAMAMOTO Ryota [JPN] (0-0-1)
Looking at the various national movements, it is clear that in these parts Germany is undoubtedly the hegemonic power. It is interesting to note that despite the very high number of races, there were only six countries capable of winning.
57 (20-19-18) – GERMANY [All-Inclusive]
38 (15-12-11) – NORWAY
22 (8-7-7) – FINLAND
15 (6-5-4) – JAPAN
15 (2-7-6) – AUSTRIA
5 (0-0-5) – FRANCE
4 (2-0-2) – USA
2 (0-2-0) – USSR
1 (0-1-0) – SWEDEN
Therefore Italy has never managed to get on the podium in a race held in Lahti. The best results are two fourth places obtained by Andrea Longo , moreover in two different winters. The Trentino rider finished at the foot of the podium both on February 28, 1992 and March 2, 1996.
A team sprint will also be staged over the weekend. This is now a tradition on the snows of Päijät-Häme, which have already hosted 9 of them. The majority of the successes has been conquered by Germany , which has set itself on 4 occasions, including the 2017 world champion gold. Instead, Austria and Finland collected 1 single victory.