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Ramsau NC: Bieler wins second straight event

Austria's Christoph Bieler won the ski jumping discipline Saturday for his second straight World Cup nordic combined victory.

RAMSAU, Austria — Austria's Christoph Bieler won the ski jumping discipline Saturday for his second straight World Cup nordic combined victory.
    The 29-year-old, who also won the sprint event in Lillehammer two weeks ago, finished 17th on the mass sprint and then jumped 96.0 meters (315 feet) and 97.5 meters (320 feet) for a total 265 points.
    Finland's Anssi Koivuranta was second with 263.7 points, France's Maxime Laheurte third with 253.0.
    ''I did not dare to tell anyone, but after the first jump I already felt like having won it again,'' Bieler said. ''Though, I had to jump really far as Koivuranta did so well with 97.0 meters on his second attempt.''
    Bieler took the lead in the overall World Cup standings with 276 points, 47 more than Koivuranta and former leader Magnus Moan of Norway, who share second spot.
    American Bill Demong was 22nd and Johnny Spillane 24th. Demong was third and Spillane 11th in the skiing portion, but they struggled with the jumping.
    "The boys are so close," U.S. head coach Lasse Ottesen said, "but not having enough training jumps is a problem. They got a couple of days of good training in Steamboat before coming here, which was a help, but we still need more time jumping on snow.
    "They're positive and they're being patient because they can tell how close they are to turning this thing around … and because they know they can count on their cross-country," he said. "The mass start always favors the better jumpers, so tomorrow when it's jumping and then cross-country in a ‘hurricane sprint,' they know they should do better."
    In a hurricane start, the athletes start the 7.5 km according to a formula which equates points behind the jumping leader to distances behind the top jumper at the start of the race. Under the traditional Gundersen method of handicap start, the skiers are docked time, not distance, according to how far behind the jump leader they place.
    After Sunday's event in this village which hosted the 1999 nordic World Championships, the U.S. squad heads home for the holidays and some additional jump training, then returns to Europe for the annual German Grand Prix, which begins Dec. 30 in Oberhof, Germany.

Ramsau, Austria – Dec. 16, 2006
Mass start (10 km/K98 jumping)
1. Christoph Bieler, Austria, (17/1) 265.0 points
2. Anssi Koivuranta, Finland, (18/2) 263.7
3. Maxime Laheurte, France, (15/4) 253.0
4. Ronny Ackermann, Germany, (4/5) 251.5
5. Bjoern Kircheisen, Germany, (13/6T) 248.2

22. Bill Demong, Vermontville, NY, (3/24) 228.5
24. Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, CO, (7/26) 224.5

For complete results, click here.

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