Ramsau, Austria – The US Nordic Combined team had a stellar day, placing three skiers in the top-10 and four in the top-20.
The team was led by Johnny Spillane, who continues an excellent start to the season. Spillane finished 4th, battling for the top spot until the end. Teammate Todd Lodwick was just behind in 6th, Billy Demong was 9th, and Brett Camerota was a career-best 18th.
Jason Lamy-Chappuis (FRA) won in exciting fashion, staging a late comeback. Austrian Felix Gottwald broke from the lead group at 8km, charging ahead on a steep climb. His gap reached 30 meters, and he appeared to be in control. But the chasers, led by Lamy-Chappuis, closed on the descent into the stadium, and swallowed up the fading Gottwald as they turned into the final homestretch. Gottwald was completely spent and could not respond, immediately dropping back to 5th.
Chappuis, the overall World Cup leader, won for the fourth time this season, and the second time in two days.
Spillane, who jumped to a 16th place start, was in the final sprint, and led the race at the halfway mark. But he didn’t have the legs in the homestretch to reach the podium. In four World Cup starts this season, Spillane reached the top-7 each time. The podium remains elusive, however, and he has been 4th twice.
Lodwick led the US with an 8th place jump and is showing good form in his second World Cup race, matching his 6th place of yesterday.
Demong has struggled on the jump this weekend – yesterday he was outside the top-30 and today he was 23rd. But his ski speed is good. He climbed up to 9th, 17.7 seconds out.
Even with three top-10 results, the story of the day for the US may have been Brett Camerota. He had a 9th place jump, and the 21st fastest ski time on his way to 18th. His previous best was 24th last year in Whistler, and his top European finish was 30th.
Camerota’s performance is especially important for the Team competition. If he can race at the level, the US will be difficult to beat in the 4-man event in the Olympics.
Tino Edelmann (GER) was 2nd, 2.1 seconds behind Chappuis, and Alessandro Pittin (ITA) was 3rd, his first World Cup podium appearance.
Topher Sabot is the editor of FasterSkier.