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Lillehammer NC: Bieler scores first World Cup win


Christoph Bieler overtook Anssi Koivuranta on the final straightaway to win a World Cup nordic combined sprint Sunday.
    Bieler finished in 17 minutes, 30.8 seconds in the 7.5-kilometer cross-country ski race, edging the Finn by 1.2 seconds.
    American Bill Demong was 14th and Johnny Spillane 26th.
LILLEHAMMER, Norway — Christoph Bieler overtook Anssi Koivuranta on the final straightaway to win a World Cup nordic combined sprint Sunday.
    Bieler finished in 17 minutes, 30.8 seconds in the 7.5-kilometer cross-country ski race, edging the Finn by 1.2 seconds.
    American Bill Demong was 14th and Johnny Spillane 26th.
    It was the 29-year-old Austrian’s first World Cup win and seventh podium finish. His previous best was a second at Schonach, Germany, last season.
    Maxime Laheurte of France was third, 4.6 seconds back, and overall leader Magnus Moan of Norway was fourth.
    Originally scheduled as a 15 km race, it was shortened to a 7.5 km after only one ski jump could be completed earlier in the day because of strong winds.
    Bieler finished 16th in the ski jump, which was won by Petter Tande of Norway at 138.5 meters.
    Tande struggled with his skiing and managed only 11th.
    After three events, Moan leads the overall standings with 200 points. Jason Lamy Chappuis of France, who was fifth, is second with 195 points while Bieler moved to third with 176.
    Demong had the fourth-fastest 7.5 km Sunday to overcome shaky jumping in the fog and move up to 14th place. Spillane turned in the sixth-fastest time and moved up 18 places to 26th.
    Demong was 30th in the lone round of jumping on the 138-meter Olympic hill but scorched the three-lap course to grab his top-15 finish. Spillane, 2003 sprint world champion who is healthy after three seasons hobbled by sickness and injury, was 44th in the jumping but sixth-fastest in the 7.5 km to advance to 26th.
    The two Lillehammer competitions were moved from Trondheim because of poor snow condition and with the snow drought in central Europe continuing to plague ski venues, U.S. coach Lasse Ottesen said Demong and Spillane would return home for training. The next World Cup is in two weeks, Dec. 16-17 at Ramsau, Austria.
    “We’ll see what happens with Ramsau, if they get snow and can hold the event, but the guys need training. Their cross-country is very strong, but they need more jump work — we had one day in which they got 12 jumps this week, and they moved forward, but they need some consistent training, not one good day and then more days of little or no jumping,” Ottesen said.
    Meanwhile, World Cup-B begins next weekend in the United States with events Saturday and Sunday in Steamboat Springs, Colorado, followed by Dec. 15-16 in Park City and Soldier Hollow, Utah, before concluding Dec. 20-21 in Lake Placid, New York.


World Cup nordic combined results
LILLEHAMMER, Norway — Results Sunday from a World Cup nordic combined event (ski jumping and 7.5-kilometer cross-country ski race placings in parenthesis):
1. Christoph Bieler, Austria, 17 minutes, 30.8 seconds (5-16).
2. Anssi Koivuranta, Finland, 1.2 seconds behind (2-23).
3. Maxime Laheurte, France, 4.6 (4-19).
4. Magnus Moan, Norway, 4.7 (13-2).
5. Jason Lamy Chappuis, France, 4.8 (9-8).
6. Espen Rian, Norway, 10.0 (3-27).
7. David Kreiner, Austria, 10.7 (6-20).
8. Sebastian Haseney, Germany, 21.5 (26-1).
9. Hannu Manninen, Finland, 25.7 (21-3).
10. Bjorn Kircheisen, Germany, 33.2 (19-5).
11. Petter Tande, Norway 38.9 (1-42).
12. Michael Gruber, Austria, 50.1 (8-31).
13. Ville Kahkonen, Finland, 50.5 (7-33).
14. Bill Demong, United States, 50.9 (30-4).
15. Ronny Ackermann, Germany, 56.2 (28-9).
16. Ola Morten Grasli, Norway, 1:07.1 (27-12).
17. Ivar Markengbakken, Norway, 1:09.9 (29-10).
18. Matthias Menz, Germany, 1:09.9 (17-22).
19. Felix Gottwald, Austria, 1:10.9 (35-7).
20. Bernhard Gruber, Austria, 1:13.3 (10-30).
21. Wilhelm Denifl, Austria, 1:13.7 (16-26).
22. Marcel Hohlig, Germany, 1:13.8 (25-17).
23. Havard Klemetsen, Norway, 1:16.1 (22-25).
24. Georg Hettich, Germany, 1:16.5 (14-28).
25. Jouni Kaitainen, Finland, 1:21.1 (17-29).
26. Johnny Spillane, United States, 1:26.8 (44-6).
27. Sergei Maslennikov, Russia, 1:28.8 (11-38).
28. Daito Takahashi, Japan, 1:37.9 (15-36).
29. Norihito Kobayashi, Japan, 1:38.2 (39-14).
30. Thorsten Schmitt, Germany, 1:39.0 (34-18).

Overall World Cup standings
(After 3 of 19 races)

1. Magnus Moan, Norway, 200 points.
2. Jason Lamy Chappuis, France, 195.
3. Christoph Bieler, Austria, 176.
4. Sebastian Haseney, Germany, 172.
5. Hannu Manninen, Finland, 169.
6. Anssi Koivuranta, Finland, 149.
7. Maxime Laheurte, France. 112.
8. Espen Rian, Norway, 87.
9. David Kreiner, Austria, 84.
10. Petter Tande, Norway, 80.

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