Kirk Nichols submitted the following video from the Continental Cup Nordic Combined competition.
SOLDIER HOLLOW, UT (Dec. 12) – World Champion Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) took the lead on the jump at the Utah Olympic Park Saturday morning and later blazed through heavy snow to win an International Ski Federation Nordic Combined Continental Cup handily against an international field on the Olympic trails at Soldier Hollow. Austrian Tomaz Druml was second and Germany’s Steffen Tepel third.
After picking up the lead in the jump, Lodwick quickly sprinted to a huge margin on the first of seven laps as heavy snow fell at Soldier Hollow for the 10K cross country. Druml ran the fastest cross country leg but it wasn’t enough to catch Lodwick, who took a 44.4 second victory over the Austrian.
“I have one goal in mind – the Olympic Games,” said Lodwick, of his decision to skip the early World Cups. “This worked out for me last year to come to Soldier Hollow. Now I’m looking forward to my trip to Austria.”
The two-time World Champion had a strong day on the jump hill thanks to early season training at home in Steamboat. “I’ve had some great training in Steamboat, added Lodwick. The big hill’s jumping as well as ever and that’s a real testament to the club there, so my jumping is really in good shape.”
Snow throughout the race took its toll on the athletes. “It was rough out there,” he said. “It was definitely the toughest 10Ks I’ve ever skied.”
Austria’s Druml echoed Lodwick’s sentiments. “As you can see, we’re 10 minutes slower than usual, so I think it really effected us. My strategy was to start and see how it goes. You can decide during the race – just wait and see.”
“It was really hard conditions – really slow,” said Tepel. “I went really quickly into third place, but it was hard. These guys were so amazing I had no chance to win.”
The USA’s Alex Miller (Steamboat Springs, CO) had a personal best, moving up from 10th after jumping to finish fourth, missing the podium by just 10 seconds.
“We’re quite pleased with results,” said U.S. Ski Team Nordic Combined Coach Greg Poirier. “Having Todd start on the Continental Cup and be victorious wasn’t a huge surprise. But his level of skiing shows that he’ll be a tough competitor on the World Cup.” Lodwick had opted to skip the opening two weekends of the World Cup, and will rejoin the tour next weekend in Austria. He also caught a break when this weekend’s events in the Czech Republic were canceled, with one of the two added to Ramsau next Friday.
Poirier was also happy with Miller’s performance, as well as Eric Camerota (Park City, UT), coming back from a knee injury this past July. “We’re extremely pleased with Alex Miller’s performance today – a personal best,” said Poirier. “He continues to get stronger and stronger in cross country. Eric Camerota had a great result. He’s in an aggressive rehab program and ahead of schedule. It will be a fight for him to get back in form and be a candidate for the Olympics, but this was a great start.”