The World Cup nordic combined season came to a close today (March 12) with a final competition in Lahti, Finland as 19-year old German Johannes Rydzek won his first World Cup competition.
Germany continued its late season dominance of the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup as Rydzek and teammate Eric Frenzel finished 1-2 with a photo finish in the large hill, ahead of Austria's hard charging Felix Gottwald. Billy Demong led the USA in 19th.
Rydzek, the World Championship silver medalist on the large hill, was 12th in the jump and paired up with teammate Frenzel to challenge World Cup leader Jason Lamy-Chappuis of France in a second half battle. Lamy-Chappuis had worked his way up from nearly a one minute deficit after the jump to take the lead at the midway point. The final kilometers were a battle, with Austria's Gottwald challenging the leaders, posting the fastest cross country time.
"I never ever expected that the 2010/11 season would develop and end like this,” said Rydzek. “I wanted to be better than in the last winter, but, wow, Junior World Champion, three times Silver medal winner at the Worlds in Lahti, winner of a World Cup event - that's amazing."
Demong, meanwhile, was saddled with nearly a two-minute setback going into the cross country leg. He blazed ahead and quickly cut nearly a minute. Saturday's winner Bjorn Kircheisen of Germany was just ahead of Demong and opted to go out hard to try to chase down Gottwald. Demong did not join the sprint, hanging back 10-15 seconds. Gottwald eventually went to the front, while Kircheisen dropped back. The group was not able to bridge up to the leaders with Demong finishing 44 seconds out in 19th with the eighth fastest time.
"It was still not quite a good enough starting point, said Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett. "Billy skied well. I think everyone's pretty cooked from World Championships."
The Lahti Ski Games wraps up the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup season, which was dominated by Lamy-Chappuis (fifth today). He won 894-656 over Norway's Mikko Kokslien, picking up four wins over the 13 event season. Gottwald was third.
For the USA, which had a dominant Olympics in 2010, it was a frustrating season with injuries and illness playing a key role.
"It was a challenging year," said Jarrett. "We made the best of where we were going into World Championships and did a good job peaking. We just needed to start from a higher spot [after jumps]. From where it was with injuries and sickness, the goal was always Oslo. We did what we were planning on doing but just didn't get any medals."
With 23 career victories, Gottwald will now retire.
"This was my last race, and there were some emotions knowing that this was my last competition jump, and this was my last 10 km Gundersen competition race," Gottwald. "I'm grateful for my time in the Nordic Combined scene, I had good days and bad moments, I learned a lot - but now it is time to move on."
For complete results download the PDF below.
Image by Gepa
Final Nations Cup Standings:
1. Austria 2568, 2. Norway 2230, 3. Germany 2148, 4. France 1729, 5. Japan 653, 6. Italy 629, 7. USA 322, 8. Switzerland 305, 9. Finland 251, 10. Czech Republic 208, 11. Slovenia 85, 12. Poland 5, 13. Estonia 1.
|5||8||610||LAMY CHAPPUIS Jason||1986||FRA||24:36.4|
|43||52||1796||JOHANSEN Truls Soenstehagen||1991||NOR||27:42.9|
|Did not start|
|Did not finish|