Vinzenz Geiger won the opening Nordic combined event of Beijing 2022 ©Getty Images

Vinzenz Geiger won the gold medal in the Nordic combined normal hill event at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympic Games, producing a late charge none of his rivals on the snow could match.

The German also took advantage of top contenders Jarl Magnus Riiber from Norway and reigning champion Eric Frenzel from Germany being absent from the Zhangjiakou National Cross-Country Skiing Centre due to positive COVID-19 tests.

Having finished 11th in ski jumping, Geiger had a deficit of 1min 26sec to Japan's Ryota Yamamoto at the start of the 10 kilometres cross-country race.

Geiger was also 10sec behind Norway's Jørgen Nyland Graabak, who he passed late on en route to the gold.

Another German, Johannes Rydzek, led for much of the cross-country section but tired badly towards the end.

When Geiger came storming through the field on the final climb, Rydzek was among those who had no answer.

Norway's Jørgen Nyland Graabak claimed the silver medal ©Getty Images
Norway's Jørgen Nyland Graabak claimed the silver medal ©Getty Images

A relaxing Geiger crossed the line 0.8sec in front of Graabak, who settled for silver, resigned from fatigue at the finish.

Bronze went to Lukas Greiderer of Austria, 6.6 off the winner, who was caught by the top two despite having held a 40sec advantage over Graabak to start the cross-county section.

His compatriot Johannes Lamparter was 2.4sec away from the podium.

Rydzek finished fifth, some 21.8behind the winner.

Nordic combined competition continues with the large hill-10km event on Tuesday (February 15).