Norway's Jarl Magnus Riiber was a comfortable winner at Seefeld today in the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup ©Getty Images

Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber took a giant step towards winning a second consecutive Triple title at the Nordic Combined World Cup as he once again held off the challenge of Japan’s Akito Watabe in Seefeld.

Yesterday the gap between them at the end of the concluding 5 kilometres Gundersen event had to be judged on a photo-shoot.

But today the overall Nordic Combined World Cup leader had a more comfortable margin of victory, finishing 33.3sec ahead in the concluding 10km cross-country to earn a 33rd World Cup win.

Watabe, who won the Triple title in Seefeld three years ago, skied together with Ilkka Herola for long stretches of the race but managed to edge ahead of the Finn in a finish line sprint to cross 1.2 ahead.

Snow showers made the jumping element increasingly difficult after the second provisional jumping round had been held in sunshine, but Riiber emerged victorious with a 99 metres effort that earned him 122.9 points.

In both jumping rounds, however, Riiber emerged victorious as he earned a 27-seconds start over Watabe, whose 97m jump secured 116.2 points, in the cross-country.

Ranked third after the jumping was Herola, whose 99m effort gained him 108.1 points and saw him start 59 seconds back from Riiber.

Germany’s Fabian Rießle, who also had a jump of 99 metres, started fourth with 1:14 to make up, but was overtaken by fellow countryman Eric Frenzel, a four-times winner of the Triple title.

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

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.