FILE UNDER -- Nordic

Seefeld NC: American Todd Lodwick 3rd in sprint

Seefeld NC: American Todd Lodwick 3rd in sprint{mosimage}SEEFELD, Austria – Four-time Olympian Todd Lodwick returned Saturday to the World Cup after a month off and climbed onto the podium, finishing third in a 7.5-kilometer sprint event behind World Cup leader Hannu Manninen of Finland and Norwegian Magnus Moan.

Carl Van Loan, the only other U.S. skier competing, was 33rd.

Manninen, eighth in jumping and starting 46 seconds behind Christoph Bieler of Austria — with Lodwick starting 30 seconds out in the handicap start 7.5 km, surged to the lead during the third of five 1.5 km laps. He and Lodwick skied stride for stride into the fourth lap when Manninen started pulling away for his 10th win of the season, his sixth in a row.

Moan, who was 1:06 back after being 16th in jumping, kept chewing toward the front. While Manninen cruised to victory, Moan — a distant second to Manninen on the points list — caught a tiring Lodwick in the final 100 meters and passed him to finish second, 3.1 seconds ahead of the American, who was named a week ago to his fourth Olympics, heading into Torino, Italy, Feb. 10-26.

Lodwick missed nine World Cup competitions after coming home from Europe in early December to be with wife Sunny. Their daughter, Charley Jordan Lodwick, was born Dec. 30 and he spent four weeks learning hold to fold — and apply — diapers when he wasn’t training before returning to World Cup action earlier this week.

“Seven weeks away and it’s good to be back,â€? he said. “I died at the end, I was so tired and just couldn’t hold Magnus off any more. I think he got me in the last 25-30 meters … but I’m pleased with a podium after that kind of time away. It’s good, for sure, and you can’t complain about another podium.

“I was kinda bummed about my jump but I still was third in jumping, so I know I’m close. This was just what I needed to see where I am. The jumping’s in there and I’ve got to pickup the ‘cross’ [country]. I know what I have to work on before Torino.�

Carl Van Loan, the only other U.S. skier competing, was 33rd. Bill Demong is battling a strep throat, possibly picked up at the U.S. championships, and Johnny Spillane also was sick.

The 15 km individual event is scheduled for Sunday at Seefeld, site of the 1985 nordic World Championships outside Innsbruck.

– Courtesy USSA News Bureau

Nordic combined World Cup results
Seefeld, Austia – Jan. 28, 2006
Sprint – NH (HS100)/7.5 km

1. Hannu Manninen, Finland, (8/4)
2. Magnus Moan, Norway, (16/3) 15.7 seconds behind
3. Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, Colo., (3/10) 18.8
4. Christoph Bieler, Austria, (1/24) 24.5
5. Mario Stecher, Austria, (7/8) 29.3
Other U.S. athletes
33. Carl Van Loan, Webster, N.H., (27/33) 2:43.5

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