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Ruhpolding NC: Gottwald wins; Demong 11th after strong skiing

Ruhpolding NC: Gottwald wins; Demong 11th after strong skiing{mosimage}RUHPOLDING, Germany – Two-time Olympian Bill Demong had the sixth-fastest 7.5-kilometer race Tuesday and moved up to 11th place in light snow while Austrian Felix Gottwald turned in the fastest time to win a World Cup sprint event that was the second stop on the annual German Grand Prix.

Gottwald, 19th in the one-round jumping portion, won by 9.5 seconds over Germany’s Ronny Ackermann. World Cup leader Hannu Manninen of Finland was fifth.

Demong was 25th in the jumping behind Norwegian Petter Tande, starting 73 seconds back. However, he powered through the pack during the five-lap race on a hilly course made more difficult because of two major climbs. Also, organizers made the race five laps instead of the normal three because of new snow; Demong was part of an eight-man pack that crossed 50-55 seconds back. He finished 53.2 seconds out.

Former sprint world champion Johnny Spillane, in his second competition of the season after recovering from a right shoulder injury in November, jumped to 30th place and had moved up to about 15th before he tired and dropped about 20 places to 36th.

‘It was light snow, but compared to the last couple of days – we had snow, then rain over New Year’s, then snow [Monday] during official jump training – it was fine’ said U.S. coach Dave Jarrett. ‘Billy didn’t jump well, but he had another good race – most of his races have been top 10 this season, so this was pretty normal … and to be 11th when you know you can jump 100 times better has some comfort to it.

‘It’s just so hard to make changes in this schedule when you train, have a comp, travel, train, have a comp. When you come into the Grand Prix, you better be ready with your jumping. We’re looking to get a day of jump training tomorrow in Hinterzarten, then go on to Schonach for the last Grand Prix event.’

He said Spillane had moved up 12-15 places during the race, which was held on hilly terrain, ‘but by the end of the fourth lap, he was said his legs were toast. This is only his second World Cup in 11 months, so we’re being patient. He’s continuing to improve his conditioning.’

- Courtesy USSA News Bureau

Warsteiner nordic combined World Cup results
German Grand Prix
Ruhpolding, Germany – Jan. 3, 2006
LH (HS128)/7.5 km

1. Felix Gottwald, Austria, (19/1)
2. Ronny Ackermann, Germany, (10/3) 9.5 seconds back
3. Petter Tande, Norway, (1/20) 17.1
4. Mario Stecher, Austria, (7/8) 22.7
5. Hannu Manninen, Finland, (5/12) 27.7
U.S. athletes
11. Bill Demong, Vermontville, N.Y., (25/6) 53.2
36. Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, Colo. (30/36) 2:23.1

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