Lodwick gets sixth World Cup victory, wins Grand Prix

Lodwick gets sixth World Cup victory, wins Grand Prix{mosimage}USSA — Todd Lodwick won the sixth nordic combined World Cup of his career Sunday, edging World Cup leader Ronny Ackermann of Germany by seven-tenths of a second in a three-man photo finish. Finland’s Hannu Manninen was third, 0.9 back.

It was Lodwick’s second victory in Schonach, having won there in 1998. Carl Van Loan had the ninth-fastest 15km race and finished 22nd for his best result.

The win also meant Lodwick — third Tuesday in Oberhof and third again Friday in Reit im Winkl — won the three-event German Grand Prix. During the preseason, he was second in the Summer Grand Prix standings; his victory Sunday vaulted him from ninth to sixth in World Cup points.

“I love Schonach … even more now,” said a beaming Lodwick. “I love coming here –they have such a great nordic tradition, and this just makes it even better.”

Added head coach Bard Elden, “Another great crowd, maybe 10,000, and it was so exciting. I knew if Todd could stay with those guys going back into the stadium, he could win it. He wouldn’t lose that sprint.”

Fourth in jumping, Lodwick was a half-minute behind Japan’s Daito Takahashi to start the 15km. “I wanted to go out hard, not let Hannu or anyone catch me early and help their confidence. I wanted them to work to catch me. I kept the pressure on,” he said.

He skied with Ackermann and Manninen and the two top jumpers, Takahashi and Ludovic Roux of France, for the final two laps … and then out-skied Ackermann — who had the fastest 15km race — and Manninen for the victory. The top six skiers were just 16.7 seconds apart.

“I knew I had great skis, absolute Rossi [Rossignol] rockets,” said Lodwick. “OJ [waxing tech Ole-Johan Oyeseter] and Bard did a great job. I felt so good out there.”

Lodwick, 27, and a three-time Olympian, was eighth after the first round of jumping because of a tailwind and a late takeoff. It didn’t rattle him, though. “I’ve been jumping well, and I knew I was gonna get that second jump, and I did it. I’m confident about my jumping and I wasn’t worried.” He had the third-best final jump and moved up to fourth.

“Todd’s got so much confidence these days,” Elden said. “He’s jumping better and better, every day and every jump. He wasn’t happy with that first jump; he was a little late but he shook it off and went back more determined to have a good second jump.

“You could see Ackermann was focused on Todd the whole way. If he finished ahead of him, Todd would win the championship. What a perfect way to win, with six guys in that pack for the last few Ks.”

At the same time, Van Loan took advantage of the opportunity to collect the best World Cup result of his career. He was 40th after the jumping, but he kept moving up through each of the six laps. “Carl focused on getting his job done, not worrying about the rest of the competition, and it paid off,” the coach said.

The competitors head next to Seefeld, Austria, host for the 1985 World Championships. Organizers picked up a second event following a cancellation in Bischofshofen. The

Nordic Combined World Cup
German Grand Prix
K90 jumping/15km FR
Schonach, Germany
January 4, 2003

1. Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, Colo., (4/8)
2. Ronny Ackermann, Germany, (10/1) 0.7 seconds back
3. Hannu Manninen, Finland, (6/4) 0.9 seconds
4. Samppa Lajunen, Finland, (7/2) 7.8
5. Ludovic Roux, France, (2/20) 11.1
22. Carl Van Loan, Webster, N.H., (40/9) 3:00.2

World Cup Standings (8 events)
1. Ackermann, 662 points
2. Manninen, 510
3. Sebastien Haseney, Germany, 370
4. Lajunen, 357
5. Felix Gottwald, Austria, 352
6. Lodwick, 321
37. Van Loan, 49
48T. Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, Colo., 4

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