Sun, Dec 14, 2003 - Page 23 News List

Ronny Ackermann wins Nordic combined event


Japan's Daito Takahashi, left, skis during the individual 15km cross-country section of the Nordic Combined World Cup skiing race at the Italian resort of Predazzo, Friday, followed by France's Ludovic Roux, center, and Austria's Felix Gottwald. Germany's Ronny Ackermann won the Combined with Gottwald coming third, Takahashi placed 4th and Roux 9th.


Ronny Ackermann captured his fourth season win in as many World Cup races Friday, beating fellow-German Sebastian Haseney in a Nordic combined meet in northern Italy.

The winner, a two-time defending overall champion who has been off to a fast season start, dominated the early ski jumping portion of the K95 hill and defended first place in the 15km individual Gundersen cross-country ski race.

Ackermann, only fifth in the ski portion, held a commanding lead of 1:05 minutes over Haseney.

Austria's Felix Gottwald and Japan's Dairo Takahashi, both excellent ski jumpers, placed third and fourth respectively.

Finnish teammates Samppa Lajunen and Hannu Manninen came next, with a gap of about two minutes from the winner.

Manninen had been Ackermann's runnerup in the previous World Cup event at Trondheim, Norway, last weekend.

Todd Lodwick of Steamboat Springs, Colorodo, was the best North American finisher in eighth place, 2:04.7 behind.

Norway's Magnus Moan was the fastest in the ski portion, in 34:42.4, but finished 11th because of a poor 29th place in ski jumping.

With a perfect record of four wins, Ackermann piled up 400 points in the World Cup overall standings.

Manninen was a distant second with 260. Haseney held third place with 226, ahead of Gottwald and Takahashi.

The two-day meet, in the Dolomite valley which hosted the world ski cross country championships earlier this year, continued Saturday with a 10-kilometer cross country ski race with mass start and a jumping event again from the K95 hill.

biathlon relay

Olena Zubrilova led Belarus to victory in the women's World Cup biathlon relay Friday in Hochfilzen, Austria for her second win in two days.

Zubrilova, who won Thursday's sprint event, passed Germany's Kati Wilhelm on the last lap of the 4x6km relay and crossed the finish line first, 6.6 seconds ahead of the Germans.

France finished in third place, 43.9 seconds behind.

Zubrilova started her lap in fourth place but quickly closed the gap on the leaders and dominated with her flawless performance at the shooting range and fast skiing.

"It's simply wonderful. When I took over, I wasn't sure whether I could catch up. Kati is in great form, too, but my skis were so fast today," Zubrilova said after the race.

Norway, which came in fifth, remained top of the overall standings with 87 points, one point ahead of Russia and France.

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