Lodwick third, Spillane fifth in nordic combined sprint; Finn wins fifth event

Lodwick third, Spillane fifth in nordic combined sprint; Finn wins fifth event{mosimage}USSA — Todd Lodwick finished third Sunday in a World Cup nordic combined sprint while sprint world champion Johnny Spillane had his best result of the season, finishing fifth, as World Cup leader Hannu Manninen of Finland won again.

Spillane was fourth behind Ludovic Roux of France in the jumping, starting the 7.5km race 39 seconds back with Lodwick 10th (49 seconds) and Manninen 13th (56 seconds).

By the midpoint, Manninen and Lodwick were battling with No. 2 jumper Daito Takahashi of Japan and that duel continued to the end, with Manninen 1.1 seconds ahead of Takahashi and Lodwick posting the fourth-fastest time in the 7.5km to finish just 2.9 seconds back. Spillane, healthy after a cold that hobbled him through December and into January, was 32.9 seconds out.

Manninen won his third in a row and fifth in six World Cups, boosting his season points to 1,070. Lodwick is sixth (573) after posting top-10 finishes in 11 straight meets, and top-5s in three of his last four.

Lodwick, the winner of the German Grand Prix at the start of January, said free-skiing on the alpine trails at Steamboat Ski Resort helped him work off some of the hassle of travel back and forth to Europe and then Japan. When he returned to Germany, he said, “I had a clear head and you can see what the alpine skiing did for me.”

Lodwick felt poorly Saturday in the three-man team competition, he said, and was surprised he felt so strong for the sprint. “I think I could’ve won it if I’d known I was going to be there all the way. I didn’t think I was going to be on the podium.”

He added, “I had really good skis my Rossi rockets and I surprised myself with how strong I felt. I should’ve made my move [to break away] sooner but I didn’t realize I’d be there to the end.”

“I thought Todd was going to win it,” said head coach Bard Elden. “He looked strong but then Hannu got by him and he couldn’t get him after that … but Todd looked strong. And Johnny jumped well again. He jumped well [Saturday] in the team comp, too, so that’s good to see.”

Lodwick and Spillane head next to Liberec, Czech Republic, for two competitions next weekend.

Nordic Combined World Cup
Oberstdorf, Germany
February 15, 2004
Sprint (K120/7.5km FR)

1. Hannu Manninen, Finland, (13/1)
2. Daito Takahashi, Japan, (2/11) 1.1 seconds back
3. Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, Colo., (10/4) 2.9
4. Petter Tande, Norway, (7/5) 8.3
5. Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, Colo., (4/17) 32.9

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