Todd Lodwick poles up a hill at Soldier Hollow on his way to the win. (U.S. Ski Team/Tom Kelly
"I have one goal in mind - the Olympic Games," said Lodwick, of his decision to skip the early World Cups. "This worked out for me last year to come to Soldier Hollow. Now I'm looking forward to my trip to Austria."
The two-time World Champion had a strong day on the jump hill thanks to early season training at home in Steamboat. "I've had some great training in Steamboat, added Lodwick. The big hill's jumping as well as ever and that's a real testament to the club there, so my jumping is really in good shape."
Snow throughout the race took its toll on the athletes. "It was rough out there," he said. "It was definitely the toughest 10Ks I've ever skied."
Austria's Druml echoed Lodwick's sentiments. "As you can see, we're 10 minutes slower than usual, so I think it really effected us. My strategy was to start and see how it goes. You can decide during the race - just wait and see."
"It was really hard conditions - really slow," said Tepel. "I went really quickly into third place, but it was hard. These guys were so amazing I had no chance to win."
The USA's Alex Miller (Steamboat Springs, CO) had a personal best, moving up from 10th after jumping to finish fourth, missing the podium by just 10 seconds.
Alex Miller puts a move on Austrian Johannes Weiss to score a personal best fourth. (U.S. Ski Team/Tom Kelly)
"We're quite pleased with results," said U.S. Ski Team Nordic Combined Coach Greg Poirier. "Having Todd start on the Continental Cup and be victorious wasn't a huge surprise. But his level of skiing shows that he'll be a tough competitor on the World Cup." Lodwick had opted to skip the opening two weekends of the World Cup, and will rejoin the tour next weekend in Austria. He also caught a break when this weekend's events in the Czech Republic were canceled, with one of the two added to Ramsau next Friday.
Poirier was also happy with Miller's performance, as well as Eric Camerota (Park City, UT), coming back from a knee injury this past July. "We're extremely pleased with Alex Miller's performance today - a personal best," said Poirier. "He continues to get stronger and stronger in cross country. Eric Camerota had a great result. He's in an aggressive rehab program and ahead of schedule. It will be a fight for him to get back in form and be a candidate for the Olympics, but this was a great start."
Action will continue Sunday with a second Continental Cup. The jumping portion was run on Saturday, so the event will begin with the scheduled 2:00 p.m. cross country at Soldier Hollow. The series then heads to Lake Placid, NY.
FIS NORDIC COMBINED CONTINENTAL CUP
Dec. 12, 2009
Utah Olympic Park, Park City, UT
Soldier Hollow, Midway, UT
1. Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, CO (1/2) 34:29.5
2. Tomaz Druml, Austria, (8/1) +00.44.4
3. Steffen Tepel, Germany, (23/3) +02:09.0
4. Alex Miller, Steamboat Springs, CO, (10/8) +02:19.9
5. Mark Schlott, Germany, (18/7) +2:32.5
9. Taylor Fletcher, Steamboat Springs, CO, (35/4) +02:56.3
11. Eric Camerota, Park City, UT, (11/17) +03:03.4
21. Carl Van Loan, Andover, NH, (37/13) +03:59.4
30. Willy Graves, Putney, VT, (12/30) +04:34.2
31. Nick Hendrickson, Park City, UT, (46/11) +04:45.4
37. Alex Glueck, Steamboat Springs, CO, (40/26) +05:19.3
41. Cliff Field, Steamboat Springs, CO, (45/42) +07:03.2
43. Michael Ward, Steamboat Springs, CO, (47/43) +07:32.1
46. Brett Denney, Steamboat Springs, CO, (52/45) +08:31.2
49. Erik Lynch, (50/49) 09:28.9