OBERHOF, Germany (Jan. 3) – Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) blew away the cross country field Sunday, finishing over 30 seconds ahead of the pack to take the first World Cup win of his career in Oberhof.
“I’m really excited. It was good jumping and good racing. I know when I can put the two together I can do well,” Spillane said. “I just went for it today and fortunately it felt good and it worked out.”
Austrian Felix Gottwald finished second and Bjoern Kircheisen of Germany was third.
Spillane set himself up, finishing second in the jump to start only two seconds back of the leader in the cross country race. He moved into the lead right out of the gate and from there blasted into a nearly 24 second lead.
Gottwald moved in to second at the 6.1K mark, but with a stunning 47 seconds lead, no one was a match for Spillane.
“I had a good jump, put myself in a good position, and just went for it right from the start of the race and didn’t worry about where other people were. I just tried to ski my own race,” Spillane said.
“Johnny had an awesome race. He just put his head down and skied. He dropped everyone. It’s a good win to have because he didn’t feed anything to anyone, and won it,” U.S. Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett added.
According to Spillane, a key part of his strategy was to not think about the other racers in the field, and just expand his lead.
“I was able to start right from the beginning and was by myself the whole race. I didn’t want to worry about waiting for other people. I just wanted to get out as far as I could and hold on,” Spillane said.
To mark the first World Cup win of his career, and his first podium since 2007, Spillane said being consistent has been a welcome change.
“It’s been nice to just be consistent. That’s one of the big problems I’ve had over the last few years is I’d have really good weeks and really bad weeks.” Spillane said.
A big part of his consistency after dealing with injuries over the years has been having his body at 100 percent.
“My body feels so much better that it’s easier for me to do what I want to do on the jump hill and put myself in a better start position in every race. If you give yourself enough chances it’s bound to work out eventually,” Spillane said.
“He’s been skiing fast all year and it felt good for him to get off the fence, so to speak, after getting a series of fourth places. To get on the top step is awesome,” Jarrett added.
Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) followed Spillane for the U.S., finishing 13th after an exciting race where he sat in fourth amidst a pack including Gottwald, Kircheisen, and France’s Jason Lamy Chappuis before losing his ground and falling back to 13th.
The nordic combined team now moves along to Val di Fiemme, Italy, where Spillane won World Championships in 2003, for two competitions Jan. 9-10. Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) will join fellow World Champions Spillane and Demong, along with the rest of the team in Italy.
“It’s good to know that I can do what I did today, but at the same time we have another event next weekend,” Spillane said. “So I’m going to take a couple days to recover and continue to move forward.”
FIS Nordic Combined World Cup
Oberhof, Germany – Jan. 3, 2010
Men’s Individual Gundersen, 10K
1. Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, CO (2/3) 28:13.3
2. Felix Gottwald, Austria (15/1) +30.8 seconds back
3. Bjoern Kircheisen, Germany (12/2) +39.1
4. Jason Lamy Chappuis, France (6/8) +41.6
5. Eric Frenzel, Germany (5/14) +43.3
13. Billy Demong, Vermontville, NY (13/18) +1:33.1
31. Brett Camerota, Park City, UT (30/34) +4:55.6
32. Taylor Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO (47/9) +5:13.4
43. Alex Miller, Steamboat Springs, CO (52/35) +8:05.9