peter prevc ski.jpg

Slovenia's Peter Prevc wrapped up a first Four Hills Tournament title in style by winning the finale on Wednesday as Austria's reign at the prestigious ski-jumping event came to an end.

Prevc soared 139 and 142.5 metres metres for 297.3 points, adding victory in Bischofshofen to those from Garmisch-Partenkirchen and Innsbruck, after starting the 64th Four Hills with third place in Oberstdorf, for a final tally of 1,139.4 points.

Germany's Severin Freund was second on the day and overall with 1,112.9 points and Michael Hayboeck at least salvaged third overall for the Austrians with 1,081.6 after finishing third in front of a home crowd.

Prevc is the first non-Austrian Four Hills winner since Finland's Janne Ahonen in 2008 and the second champion from Slovenia, the other being Primoz Peterka in 1996.

The 23-year-old has won six of the last seven events and leads the World Cup with 924 points from Freund who has 719.

Wednesday's Four Hills crown is the biggest career success to date for the quiet and modest Prevc who made his World Cup debut at age 17.

He won silver and bronze at the 2013 worlds and 2014 Olympics, was third at the 2015 Four Hills and lost last year's World Cup title only on countback to the world and Olympic champion Freund.

The Four Hills turned out to be the expected big duel between the two, but Prevc was unstoppable although Freund won the opener.

The job was completed in a classy finale under the floodlights where Hayboeck stole third overall from Norway's Kenneth Gangnes with a final jump of 139m, Freund then soared 141m, but the undeterred Prevc even beat that with 142.5m.

"I am really relaxed. It was so hard but it is an amazing day," Prevc said after being paraded around the finish area in the shoulders of his teammates.

Freund, who also made the podium in all four events and overcame a crash in Innsbruck, said that Prevc was "simply too good" and added: "It was great fun. You have done a lot of things right if you get on the podium four times."

Defending champion Stefan Kraft came fifth overall behind Gangnes as neither he nor Hayboeck managed to give an eighth straight win to Austria who also had out-of form ex-champion Gregor Schlierenzauer quit the Four Hills before the finale.

Japanese 43-year-old veteran Noriaki kasai was seventh overall, Swiss four-times Olympic champion Simon Ammann placed 11th a year after his crash in Bischofshofen, and Prevc's immensely gifted 16-year-old brother Domen Prevc placed 17th in his Four Hills debut.

The World Cup continues without a breather on the weekend in Willingen, Germany, before returning to Austria for the January 15-17 ski-flying world championships in Bad Mitterndorf.

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Prevc wins in Innsbruck to close in on Four Hills title

Schlierenzauer takes indefinite break from ski-jumping

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