WHISTLER, BC (Jan. 16) - Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) capitalized on a massive 134.0 meter jump to win the Olympic test event World Cup at the Whistler Olympic Park Friday. The DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup win was the fifth of his career and second this season.
The win vaulted Demong back into second in the season standings behind Finland's Anssi Koivuranta, who leads 723-615. Norway's Magnus Moan is close behind Demong with 601.
Billy Demong battles Finn Anssi Koivuranta for the lead. (Getty Images-Jonathan Ferrey)
Demong's 134 meter jump put him into second, starting 29 seconds behind Koivuranta in the cross country leg. The Finn put up a stubborn battle before Demong finally caught him about six kilometers into the 10K event.
"At the halfway mark of the cross country race, I wasn't sure to catch Anssi," Demong said. "I just kept pushing for a runner-up finish. Then, I closed the gap, rested a little bit and prepared the final attack on the last uphill."
The two swapped the lead back and forth before Demong overtook him in the last kilometer and sprinted to an 18.4 second victory with Germany's Bjoern Kircheisen third, another 15 seconds back.
"I feel great," said Demong. "This win is really two things. This is obviously the pre-Olympic World Cup so it's important to know these venues as well as possible before we come next year. And it's also the last weekend before I get a couple weeks off. It's been a long season so far and I'm looking forward to the break and this is a good start to it."
American Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) had the third fastest cross country time, finishing 10th with Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) also in the points in 22nd.
Everyone was impressed with the Whistler Olympic Park, which will host nordic combined, ski jumping, cross country and biathlon. "This is a world class facility," said Demong. "The hill is great. The cross country course is good for both skiers and spectators because the course is challenging and you can see it from the stands.
"[The Olympics] is still a year away," he added. "Right now it's a good sign that I'm on the podium at the Olympic venue. I think now we're getting used to the venue for next season."
Action continues on Saturday with a second event, this time a single jump on the normal hill in Whistler with another 10K cross country.
DKB FIS NORDIC COMBINED WORLD CUP
Jan. 16, 2010
Individual Gundersen Start
(jump rank, XC rank, time back)
1. Billy Demong, Vermontville, NY (2/10) 25:07.9
2. Anssi Koivuranta, Finland (1/25) +18.4 seconds
3. Bjoern Kircheisen, Germany (12/4) +32.3
4. Mario Stecher, Austria (5/17) +32.6
5. Magnus Moan, Norway (14/1) +33.1
10. Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, CO (21/3) +55.4
22. Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, CO (29/9) +1:53.7
31. Brett Camerota, Park City, UT (35/20) +3:56.5
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Billy Demong celebrates his win. (Getty Images-Jonathan Ferrey)