Jarl Magnus Riiber won on a photo finish from Akito Watabe in Seefeld today ©Getty Images

It took a photo-finish to confirm that Jarl Magnus Riiber had earned an opening day victory at the Nordic Combined World Cup in Seefeld ahead of Japan’s Akito Watabe.

Just centimetres separated the Norwegian, who leads the overall standings of this International Ski Federation (FIS) event, from the man who secured an emphatic win in last Sunday’s World Cup at Lahti.

After fluctuating wind conditions at the famed Austrian venue had obliged the jury to use the provisional competition round of jumping as the basis for deciding start times in the concluding five kilometres cross-country, Riiber and Watabe set out at virtually the same time, having both reached 109.5 metres and earned 138.9 and 138.8 points respectively.

Five metres later they were still neck-and-neck, but Riiber - who won the Triple title at this event last year - nudged ahead to take his 32nd World Cup win.

Vinzenz Geiger overtook a completely exhausted Espen Bjørnstad in the last metres to claim third, 45.0 seconds behind the two leaders of the Nordic Combined Triple standings.

Bjørnstad had had the longest jump of the round with 111 metres but ranked third with 132.8 points and had 24 seconds to make up on the leading duo.

Home athlete Johannes Lamparter finished fourth after a jump of 108 metres that saw him delayed by 45 seconds.

As in previous years, the event opened with a one jump, 5 km Individual Gundersen event which reduced the starting field to 50.

All 50 athletes will take their results with them in the form of minus points for tomorrow’s ski jumping round and then ski 10 km to complete day two.

The best 40 athletes will then carry their results on to Sunday (January 31), when they will complete in only one jumping round - not two as in previous years - and ski a final race of 15 km.

Whoever crosses the finish line first will become the Triple winner for 2021 - a prize that, since it was instituted in 2014, has been won four times by Germany's Eric Frenzel and once each by Watabe, Austria’s Mario Seidl, and Riiber.