Nordic Combined-Kircheisen Celebrates Lahti Victory, Lamy-Chappuis Defends Overall World Cup TitleTweet
German teammates Bjorn Kircheisen and Eric Frenzel took the first two spots on the FIS World Cup nordic combined podium today (March 11) in Lahti, Finland while France’s Olympic and World Champion Jason Lamy Chappuis finished third to assure himself the World Cup title. Olympic Champion Billy Demong led the U.S. in 29th.
Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen led the ski jumping portion in Lahti, with a 127.5 meter, 130.3-point jump. In second was Wilhelm Denifl (AUT/126.0 m/129.5 points) with Kaarel Nurmsalu (EST/130.5 m/129.2 points) in third. Lamy Chappuis jumped to fourth place, just 20 seconds behind Klemetsen with the winner, Kircheisen in 12th position, a full 62 seconds back.
As the Cross-Country race developed, Lamy Chappuis quickly closed the gap between himself and the three leaders: Klemetsen, Denifl and Nurmsalu. The second lap saw the Frenchman break away with Denifl, securing only a narrow 7.5-second lead ahead of Kircheisen, Frenzel and others. In lap three the gap was once again narrowed, leaving a five-man group ahead to lead the race into the final lap, and in the fourth, Kircheisen sprinted ahead for the victory.
“I did not start that fast because of the slow track,” said Kircheisen, “but attacked at the right moment during the last lap. I’m happy about my fourth World Cup victory here in Lahti.”
At the finish line, Kircheisen had an advantage of 5.4 seconds on Frenzel and 13.2 seconds on Lamy Chappuis.
Wilhelm Denifl finished in fourth and equaled his best World Cup results. Mikko Kokslien (NOR) improved from 20th rank to final eight and Felix Gottwald (AUT) delivered the fastest Cross-Country time in 23:57.0 minutes.
This victory marked Kircheisen’s 15th World Cup win of 165 appearances and with two Germans on top, displayed strength and a repeat of last week’s World Championship success for the team. “It is nice to see that it becomes some kind of habit having always two Germans on the podium,” said Frenzel.
Continuing to struggle with the jumping portion of the nordic combined, Demong sat in 36th heading into the cross country race, two minutes forty seconds back. Needing to make up a lot of ground in the 10k, Demong had trouble finding his stride posting the 18th fastest time to place 29th. Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) finished just outside the points in 33rd. World Champions Todd Lodwick and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) returned home after World Championships.
This World Cup in Lahti marks the final stop of the tour. Competition continues Saturday with another large hill event to conclude the 2010-11 season.
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