FILE UNDER -- Nordic

Soldier Hollow: Demong keeps U.S. rolling on World Cup-B tour

Soldier Hollow: Demong keeps U.S. rolling on World Cup-B tour{mosimage}SOLDIER HOLLOW, Utah – Two-time Olympian Bill Demong made it three straight U.S. victories on the nordic combined World Cup-B tour before German Christian Beetz snapped the string.

Demong, taking a break from the World Cup to be home for the holidays, dropped into the Homestead Resort World Cup-B Classic Friday and skied off with the win before an appreciative group of friends at Soldier Hollow. He was 14th in jumping at Utah Olympic Park before capturing the 7.5-kilometer sprint race as he edged Beetz by four-tenths of a second.

Beetz had led the jumping but Demong, who has skied and trained on the Soldier Hollow trails for several years, kept stalking him and caught him near the end, then outskied him to the finish. Third place went to Jens Kaufman, also of Germany.

Brett Camerota was 11th Friday in the sprint with twin brother Eric, who had two top 10s the previous weekend in Steamboat Springs, finishing 19th. Carl Van Loan was 25th in the first of the two Homestead Resort Classic events on the 2002 Olympic jumping and cross-country venues.

Saturday, Beetz won a mass-start combined event, which opened with a 10-kilometer race at Soldier Hollow and concluded with jumping at UOP. Beetz was fourth in the 10 km and only sixth in the jumping, but his combined points total of 244.8 beat Kaufman, 25th in skiing but second in jumping, by three points. American skiers struggled, with Brett Camerota in 11th place for the second day in a row and Van Loan 15th as the only U.S. skiers in the top 35.

The World Cup-B schedule now turns to Lake Placid, N.Y., for the annual Lamb Lumber Classic. Athletes will compete Tuesday in an individual (15 km) event and conclude the first period of the World Cup-B schedule with a sprint Wednesday.

“These are important events. There’s a lot on the line,” said U.S. head coach Bard Elden, “and with all nations looking to pick Olympic teams, there’s a huge field here.

“That makes it tougher, of course, but that’s OK because our athletes need to up their production, need to be building toward that peak in February. They have to step up; it’s that simple.”

– Courtesy USSA News Bureau

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