VIKERSUND, Norway (March 15) - World Champion Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) ended the season Sunday with a strong win in the final DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup in Norway, winning the prestigious King's Cup, one of the sport's top honors. It was his fifth win of the season and eighth of his career.
Demong was presented with the King's Cup in the private viewing box of Norway's King Harald V, who attended all of Sunday's events in Vikersund, west of Oslo. The Cup was also won by American John Bower in 1968 and is considered one of the highest honors in nordic combined.
Finland's Anssi Koivuranta, who needed only two points to clinch the title over Norway's Magnus Moan, was eight to take the globe, finishing with seven wins. Demong finished third for the second straight year, despite skipping two weekends to prepare for World Championships, where he won gold in the large hill event.
After finishing 17th in the jump, Demong methodically worked his way through the pack to take a 9.8 second victory over Petter Tande of Norway.
"It;s nice to fiish the eason with five podium places n the last five competitions," said Demong. "These results give me a lot of motivtion to start training for next season with a focus on the Olympic Winter Games. But in two years, I would like to compete for the overall title."
Demong put down a 107.0 meter jump to finish 17th, starting the 10K cross country segment 53 seconds behind Austrian leader Christoph Bleiler. Koivuranta was in a good position, 31 seconds back, while Moan was well out of the hunt in 43rd, with a 1:44 disadvantage.
With no strong cross country skiers right behind him, Bleiler held the lead through the halfway mark where Demong finally caught the lead pack and was in the lead by 6.8K. Koivuranta, meanwhile, held close but started fading in the final kilometers. Demong, meanwhile, had a tough battle with Tande from the 7K mark until the last half kilometer when he sprinted away to the win.
"Bill started out conservatively and worked his way up to Bieler," said Coach Dave Jarrett. "When he got to Bieler, he took control. People tried to ski with him but he and Petter broke away and skied together for the last half lap. Mikko [Kokslien] was closing quickly. On the end of a long climb Bill made a move to drop Petter and won going away.
"Tactically he did a good job with what he had to work with to make sure Mikko didn't get too close and to drop Petter."
It was one of the first times this season Tande has been a factor. Demong and Tande battled to the final race last year, with the Norwegian beating Demong for second in the overall.
DKB FIS NORDIC COMBINED WORLD CUP
Vikersund, Norway - March 15, 2009
Individual Gundersen Start - HS117
(jump rank, XC rank, time back)
1. Billy Demong, Vermontville, NY, (17/2) 26:31.6
2. Petter Tande, Norway, (12/7) +9.8
3. Mikko Kokslien, Norway (34/1) +10.3
4. Jason Lamy Chappuis, France, (17/4) +15.6
5. Janne Ryynaenen, Finland, (10/9) +22.9
32. Eric Camerota, Park City, UT (21/41) +2:21.5
42. Brett Camerota, Park City, UT (50/36) +3:05.1
44. Bryan Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO, (49/38) +3:09.1