Germany's Eric Frenzel has set himself up as the top contender at the International Ski Federation (FIS) Nordic Combined World Cup Triple after skiing to victory on day one in Seefeld, Austria.
Second place went to Norway's Jan Schmid, who will spearhead tomorrow's chasing pack, while his compatriot Jarl Magnus Riiber held on to third following a superb jump.
The 17-year-old was second after the jumping stage, finishing 2.8 points behind leader Fabian Steindl of Austria for a time deficit of 10 seconds coming into the race.
Another Norwegian, Haavard Klemetsen, jumped into third with a distance of 101 metres for 123.5 points, but still found himself sitting 39 second behind the leader Steindl.
Title defender Frenzel, alongside Japan's Yoshito Watabe, secured fifth, 46 seconds behind, while another Japanese skier, Taihei Kato, took seventh, 48 seconds off the lead pace.
Strong contenders for the title, Germany's Johannes Rydzek, Italy's Alessandro Pittin, Japan's Akito Watabe and France's Jason Lamy Chappuis, who are extremely fast cross-country skiers, all sat between 1min 14sec and 1:17 seconds behind the leader, well within striking distance for the race to come.
As the racers took to the course, Riiber and Steindl stayed together, using one another to set a fast opening pace.
Steindl's podium dreams were cut short at the feared Willi-Denifl corner as the Austrian fell on the long downhill in the final lap to lose contact with Riiber.
Frenzel was showing a strong pace behind and caught the leader on the second part of the final lap.
He was joined by Schmid who managed to keep pace, while Klemetsen, Watab, Kato and other top 10 jumpers fell to keep a hold on the lightening pace at the front of the pack.
It was not until the final few metres of the race that Frenzel shocked his Norwegian opponent, racing across the line in 11:19.0 to finish 2.3 seconds ahead.
Magnus Moan proved fastest on the skis as he recorded a cross country time of 10:56.7 to move from 27th to fifth, just 1.9 seconds behind Pittin who moved up from 15th.
Only the top 50 finishers from today's race will be allowed to compete tomorrow, meaning many big names made an early exit, including French superstar Jason Lamy Chappuis, who was not able to finish today's cross-country race.
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