FILE UNDER -- Nordic

Manninen wins combined opener; Americans Lodwick, Demong top 15

Manninen wins combined opener; Americans Lodwick, Demong top 15{mosimage}KUUSAMO, Finland – Defending World Cup champion Hannu Manninen of Finland had the fastest 15-kilometer time Friday, Nov. 25 and, despite a steady rain, stormed to victory in the opening nordic combined World Cup of the season.

American Todd Lodwick was ninth and Bill Demong moved up 11 places in the race to finish 15th on the first day of the Nordic Opening.

After strong winds wiped out jump training Thursday, the rain arrived during the night. Manninen was fourth in the HS142 jumping and simply overpowered the poor conditions to win by nearly 2 1/2 minutes. Teammate Anssi Koivuranta, second in jumping, held onto second place.

Lodwick was ninth in jumping but struggled in the rugged cross-country conditions. He finished 3:22.4 back, with Demong, 26th in jumping, posted the eighth-fastest 15km and came home 15th, 4:57.7 back.

“It was the same weather we’ve had the last few days, although the wind wasn’t as bad,” U.S. head coach Bard Elden said. “We got one training round of jumping, the trial round and then the two rounds of the competition, so I think the jumping results may be a little off … and they’ll settle down once everyone gets some more jumping.

“In the race, Hannu just took over and was way out there by himself all through the race. Billy skied well and this is one of Todd’s best first races of the season. Lasse [Ottesen, jumping coach] and I agreed [Thursday] night that, with as little training as we’ve had lately, getting both Todd and Billy into the top 15 will be a good start … and the guys did that — a top-10 and a top-15 finish, which is good,” Elden said. “We’ve got improvements to make, but this gets the season going and we’re certainly pleased these organizers were able to get it started.”

The nordic combined sprint is scheduled for Sunday.

Nordic Opening
Kuusamo, Finland – Nov. 25, 2005

1. Hannu Manninen, Finland, (4/1)
2. Anssi Koivuranta, Finland, (2/23) 2:29.6 back
3. Petter Tande, Norway, (5/21) 2:42.3
4. Jason Lamy Chappuis, France, (1/30) 2:48.9
5. Magnus Moan, Norway, (14/7) 3:03.2

9. Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, Colo., (9/13) 3:22.4
15. Bill Demong, Vermontville, N.Y., (26/8) 4:57.7

For complete results:

Courtesy USSA News Bureau

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