Kircheisen wins nordic combined at Trondheim, with Spillane second

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TRONDHEIM (USST report) - Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO), confidentabout his jumping and feeling stronger about his cross country skiing, moved upto second place Friday for the first podium of his World Cup career but justcouldn't catch Germany's Bjoern Kircheisen. Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO)advanced to 19th in the 7.5-km race.

In a meet postponed from Kuusamo, Finland, because of high winds last Sunday,Georg Hettich, another German, led the one round of large hill (K120) jumpingwith Spillane fourth in the 20-degree weather.

In the three-lap, 7.5-km race, Kircheisen - third in jumping - took charge inthe final kilometer and stormed to his first World Cup victory by 3.3 secondsover Spillane, who had the ninth-fastest race time; Hettich was third in thefield of 53. Lodwick, 25th in jumping, moved up six spots in the race whileNathan Gerhart (also Steamboat) was 41st.

"It was fun," said Spillane, who finished 10th in the opening event of a seasonlast Saturday in Kuusamo's -15 F. freeze. "My jumping's really becomeconsistent. Every jump's good, so I know that's 'there' but when it's that cold,I struggle?

"On an average cross country day, though, I expect now to be ninth or10th-fastest. This course is awesome - good and fast. We had a little tailwindon the jumping hill and had low speeds, but I think that was fair for everyone,"he said.

He bunched-up with Hettich, Kircheisen and Austrian Michael Gruber at the startof the race, Spillane said, and after Gruber dropped back (eventually finishingfifth) at the start of the final loop, he skied with the two Germans untilKircheisen made his strategic move. "I just couldn't catch him at that point,"Spillane said.

The World Cup visit to the 1997 World Championships site - which helped markTrondheim's 1,000th birthday ? continues Saturday with an individual combinedevent Saturday and another sprint Sunday.

WARSTEINER NORDIC COMBINED WORLD CUP
Trondheim, NOR - Dec. 6
Sprint (from Kuusamo, FIN)
K120/7.5-km
1. Bjoern Kircheisen, Germany, (3/8)
2. Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, CO, (4/9) 3.3 seconds back
3. Georg Hettich, Germany, (1/19) 5.6
4. Ronny Ackermann, Germany, (11/6) 33.1
5. Michael Gruber, Austria, (2/33) 37.9
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19. Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, CO, (25/18) 2:03.1
41. Nathan Gerhart, Steamboat Springs, CO, (31/45) 3:21.0
47. Jed Hinkley, Andover, NH, (49/43) 4:39.2
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DNF: Carl Van Loan, Webster, NH
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World Cup Standings (2 events)
1. Kircheisen, 160 points
2. Ackermann, 130
3. Hannu Manninen, Finland, 126
4. Spillane, 106
5. Hettich, 105
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23. Lodwick, 19