Lajunen Wins Nordic Combined

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Strbske Pleso, Slovakia Dec. 9, 2001 (AP)--Finland's Samppa Lajunen excelled in a 7.5-kilometer cross-country sprint Sunday to win a World Cup Nordic combined event.

Todd Lodwick of Steamboat Springs, Colo., finished fifth, his third top-five finish of the week. He was third in the 120-meter jumping and led for most of the sprint.

Lajunen was seventh after the ski jumping, earning 112.5 points. He then outclassed the opposition with a solid sprint to take first place overall.

Germany's Ronny Ackermann was second, finishing fifth and sixth in the individual events. Austria's Felix Gottwald, the World Cup defending champion, was third.

Austria's Christian Bailer was the strongest individual jumper and Czech racer Ladislav Rygl was the top sprinter.

Akermann has won two races and placed second in two more of the five events held so far this season.

He leads the standings with 595 points, ahead of Gottwald with 545 and Todd Lodwick of the United States with 445. Lajunen moved into fourth place in the standings with 425 points.

The next World Cup event will be at Steamboat Springs, Colo., on Dec. 15-16

Copyright © 2000 The Associated Press

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