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Lodwick 11th, Demong 31st in nordic combined sprint

Lodwick 11th, Demong 31st in nordic combined sprint{mosimage}KUUSAMO, Finland – Austrian Mario Stecher won the first nordic combined World Cup sprint Sunday, moving up from ninth place in the 7.5-kilometer race while Americans Todd Lodwick was 11th and Bill Demong finished 31st.

Stecher overtook Norwegian Petter Tande to win by four seconds, with Tande second. Lodwick, 12th in the one round of jumping on the HS142 hill, finished 20 seconds out while Demong turned in the seventh-fastest 7.5 kilometers and moved up seven places in the three-lap sprint, but missed a top-30 result by one second in the final event of Kuusamo’s Nordic Opening weekend.

‘Todd was up to second place behind Tande at the start of the third [final] lap, less than five seconds behind, but he couldn’t hold it’ said head coach Bard Elden. ‘That was too bad because he was so close, but then there was such a rush of goes going by him … but it was another good race for Billy. His cross-country is pretty solid right now, but we’ve got to get his jumping back. I’m sure that will return; I think he’s lacking a little confidence after Johnny [Spillane] crashed.

‘We’re looking to get some more jumps on snow this week and then go to Trondheim [Norway] in the middle of the week. We need the jumps on snow because it’s been a quick transition and the guys just haven’t had time to adjust’ he said.

The combined schedule moves to Trondheim, Norway, which has been struggling with a snow drought early in the season. Organizers have assured FIS officials and national team coaches that recent drops in nighttime temperatures are allowing them to make enough snow to stage the second weekend of the season.

On a separate note, Elden said Spillane, who reinjured his right shoulder when his skis lost their binding shortly after takeoff Tuesday on a training jump, was expected to be examined Tuesday in Salt Lake City to determine the extent of his injury.

- Courtesy USSA News Bureau

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