Magnus Moan (NOR) won the World Cup Nordic Combined competition on Sunday, barely 1.5 seconds ahead of Jason Lamy-Chappuis (FRA) who was leading after the jumping and started the cross-country a full minute in the lead. Moan polished off the course in 24 minutes and 36.8 seconds, Lamy-Chappuis clocked in at 24:38.4. David Kreiner (AUT) was third in 24:40.5. It was an incredibly tight race among the fastest racers: The top six finished within less than five seconds of each other.
“The strategy today was to get up on the heels of Lamy-Chappuis early and just hang out there and see what he would do,” Moan said to Norwegian TV station NRK.no after the race.
So Moan rolled up his sleeves and went to work. In 2.5K he had reduced Lamy-Chappuis’ advantage to half, and halfway through the course, Moan was on the Frenchman’s tails. With 400 meters to go, Moan surged and literally parked Lamy-Chappuis.
Taylor Fletcher was the top American, finishing in 29th place – one of his best ever results in a World Cup competition. Dave Jarrett, US Nordic Combined Head Coach, is impressed with Taylor Fletcher’s performance in Seefeld, which landed him some World Cup points.
“Today had some positives for sure. Taylor got some points, which was good,” Jarrett said to FasterSkier in an email after the competition.
Jarrett also sees improvement for Johnny Spillane, who is racing his way into shape for the World Championships in Oslo next month. He recently returned to competition after an 8-month break due to injuries.
“Johnny is definitely coming back better and better. He needs to get the competition edge sharpened, for sure,” Jarrett said, but they both know they need to be patient, and that the 2011 World Championships are the goal of the season for him, and he recognizes that the Seefeld venue is known for brutal courses along with a difficult hill and challenging snow conditions.
“While this is new version of the hill here, (Spillane) has always struggled a bit on this hill. Horses for courses,” Jarrett said, adding that Spillane is already excited for the next races in Chaux Neuve, France, this coming weekend.
“Today was better for me,” Johnny Spillane said to FasterSkier after his race on Sunday.
“I’m feeling faster every race which is a good sign,” he said, adding that it takes time to get back from an 8-month break and it takes time to dial in new equipment.
“Jumping is still a little hit miss now, but that is due to lake of training and trying to catch up on equipment testing. Today I tried a brand new pair of skis on the jump, which adds to the stress level a little, but overall they were pretty good.”
But Spillane is patient and knows that every competition and every training day add up and will get him closer to peaking for the World Championships in Oslo in the end of February.
“I’m looking forward to a week of training and continuing to take some more small steps towards Oslo,” Spillane said.
Ups and downs
Bryan Fletcher, who has delivered consistently encouraging results this season, generally overshooting his own goals of top 30, had a tough day Sunday. He was in 43rd place after the jumping, and started 1:32 behind Lamy-Chappuis. Still, he was able to climb seven spots over the 10K course and ended up in 36th place overall.
“Bryan didn’t jump as well as he has been but in actuality it was just a one-off jump in the comp,” said Jarrett.
Todd Lodwick felt a little off Sunday and didn’t pull off his best game, so despite a 26 place in after the jumping – the best of any of the US racers – Lodwick decided to opt out of the cross-country Sunday.
“Todd jumped ok, but is still struggling with his lungs and breathing issues. He felt it was better not to race and hopefully let his lungs heal a bit more before Chaux Neuve,” Jarrett said.
The World Cup events in Chaux Neuve next weekend will be the last World Cups before the World Championships in Oslo, and also the last World Cup competition for the season aside from the Oslo events.
Complete results here.
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.