Christoph Bieler takes Nordic combined World Cup individual event
Edges out Japan's powerful skier Akito Watabe by 4.4 seconds
Christoph Bieler of Austria capped off a successful weekend Sunday with a win at the Nordic combined World Cup individual event in Almaty.
Bieler completed the 10-kilometre cross-country race on a winding course in 25:31 minutes, edging out Japan's powerful skier Akito Watabe by 4.4 seconds, whittled down from a 52-second deficit.
The 35-year old Austrian began first off the starting line after reaching 135 metres to garner 136.4 points in the ski jumping phase.
Miroslav Dvorak of the Czech Republic powered up from 8th position and a 1:02-minute lag to come in third, 17.5 seconds behind the leader, registering a career best.
Bieler, who was third in Saturday's combined event, has not claimed a top podium spot for five years.
"I didn't know my shape in the cross-country, but my children and my family gave me energy," Bieler said.
Watabe performed strongly over the two days, despite his dispiriting fall in Sochi, Russia, the previous weekend, but failed to secure his first win of the season. The second place pushes him up one spot into fifth in the season's rankings with 511 points, overtaking Germany's Tino Edelmann. Bieler is now 14th with 250 points.
Most of the leaders skipped the Almaty leg, leaving the field open to many younger competitors.
On Saturday, Germany's Bjorn Kircheisen won the cross-country race, climbing up from a 9th place start after 129.5-meter jump earlier in the day. He was followed at the finish by Watabe and Bieler.
A day later, Kircheisen started in 21st position with a 1:48 minute deficit in the cross-country after a disappointing jump, and fought past a crowded pack to take fifth place behind Bieler and Watabe.