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Kuusamo NC: Chappuis edges Manninen

Jason Lamy Chappuis won the World Cup nordic combined opener on Saturday, beating runner-up Hannu Manninen by 19.5 seconds.

KUUSAMO, Finland — Jason Lamy Chappuis won the World Cup nordic combined opener on Saturday, beating runner-up Hannu Manninen by 19.5 seconds.
    It was the second World Cup victory for the 20-year-old Frenchman. He won his first event in last season's finale in Sapporo, Japan.
    Chappuis took the lead after winning the opening ski jump portion with rides of 137.5 and 134 meters. In the final 15-kilometer cross country ski race, he started 1 minute, 29 seconds ahead of Anssi Koivuranta, an 18-year-old Finn.  
    Manninen, the three-time defending overall champion, started 16th, 4:36 behind Chappuis. Manninen rose steadily to take his 21st career runner-up spot and 77th podium finish.
    Sebastian Haseney of Germany was third, moving up from 14th. He was 24 seconds behind the winner.
    Magnus Moan of Norway moved from 17th to take fourth, 31.8 seconds back. Koivuranta was fifth.
    Nordic combined blends ski jumping and cross-country. Under a new rule this season, the field of athletes is thinned to 35 following the first round of jumping, and Americans Bill Demong and Johnny Spillane had a poor first jump, so they were among the skiers not allowed to continue.
    "They had a ‘jumping flu' — one bad jump and they were out of it," said head coach Lasse Ottesen. "It's a new rule, and it's a little controversial, but it's the rule and we'll see how it works out. We have small adjustments to make in the guys' jumping and they're back in it, and if they had a second jump today, as it's always been, they'd certainly have been up there.
    "But [Sunday] is the sprint and we're looking to move forward from here, leave this behind and do well in the sprint," he said. The sprint has one round of jumping and a 7.5 km race.
    In a related matter, Ottesen said the combined events Dec. 2-3 in Trondheim, Norway, had been shifted to Lillehammer, Norway, because of poor snow.

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