RAMSAU, Austria (Dec. 19) - The U.S. Ski Team's Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) finished just off the podium for the second time this year, ending up fourth in a nordic combined World Cup Saturday in Ramsau. Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) was sixth and Billy Demong (Vermontvile, NY) ninth.
Johnny Spillane works his way through to the front. (Getty Images/AFP-Samuel Kubani)
Spillane did a masterful job working his way through the pack after finishing 16th in the jump. He took over the lead at the midway point before France's Jason Lamy Chappuis forged his way to the front to win for the second straight day.
"I just went out too hard," said Spillane to his coaches in the finish area. The 2003 World Champion did go out very aggressively in the cross country segmant to take the lead midway and hold it throughout the third of four laps. Entering the final 2.5K loop, Spillane was in control. But Lamy Chappuis had been pacing himself for the final push. Spillane eventually gave way to Chappuis, but was hanging onto a podium position until the final stretch. He finished just 4.2 seconds behind the winner and a half second away from the podium.
"I think Johnny thought there was still another group in front of him and he just kept skiing hard - in the red zone - and just didn't have it at the end," said U.S. Nordic Combined Coach Chris Gilbertson. "We've been working with the guys on negative splits - going out slow and making each lap progressively faster. It will come around, it will just take some time."
It was the second straight day the U.S. landed three athletes into the top 10 with Spillane, Lodwick and Demong. "We all jumped a little better so didn't have to work as hard to get through the pack," added Gilbertson.
One of the really pleasant surprises was the performance of Brett Camerota (Park City, UT), who had a career best 18th. "Brett really set the stage for us. He jumped early and held the lead for a while, so it set a benchmark for the guys," said Gilbertson. Camerota jumped to ninth and was 21st fastest in cross country. His previous best individual event was 24th at one of the Olympic test events at the Whistler Olympic Park last year.
The pre-holiday World Cup wraps up with another event Sunday in Ramsau before the U.S. Ski Team heads to Steamboat Springs for Wednesday's Olympic Trials.
FIS NORDIC COMBINED WORLD CUP
Dec. 19, 2009
1. Jason Lammy Chappuis, France, (3/17) 25:45.6
2. Tino Edelmann, Germany, (1/19) +2.1 seconds
3. Alessandro Pittin, Italy, (5/16) +3.7
4. Johnny Spillane, Steamboat Springs, CO, (16/8) +4.2
5. Felix Gottwald, Austria, (19/9) +8.3
6. Todd Lodwick, Steamboat Springs, CO, (8/15) +14.2
9. Billy Demong, Vermontville, NY, (23/10) +17.7
18. Brett Camerota, Park City, UT, (9/21) +30.8
Johnny Spillane (FIS/Egon Theiner)
Billy Demong (FIS/Egon Theiner)
Brett Camerota (FIS/Egon Theiner)
Todd Lodwick (FIS/Egon Theiner)