Norway Wins Team Competition. Mario Stecher Injured.
SEEFELD (AUT), 14 January 2011– Norway’s Nordic Combined squad underlined its co-favorite role for World Championship medals with an impressive victory at the DKB FIS Nordic Combined World Cup team event in Seefeld today.
Magnus Moan, Haavard Klemetsen, Jan Schmid and Mikko Kokslien were in fourth spot after the jumping, but skied to victory beating Austria (Felix Gottwald, Wilhelm Denifl, David Kreiner and Bernhard Gruber) by 11.9 seconds. Austria was second after the Ski Jumping portion.
Third place went to France. Francois Braud, Maxime Laheurte, Sebastien Lacroix and Jason Lamy Chappuis led after the jumping, but Braud was caught by Moan and Gottwald the first leg of the cross-country race.
The race was split in two main parts. On top, Norway and Austria fought for victory. On the last kilometers, Kokslien broke away from Gruber and skied alone to first placed. Behind, Germany
chased France for the last spot on the podium. During the last leg, Edelmann closed a 10-second-gap against Chappuis, but the Frenchman won the sprint against Edelmann. Germany was just 1.4 seconds out of the top three.
It was only the fourth podium place for France in a World Cup Team event after competitions in December 1988 (third), December 1990 (second) and in Schonach in January 2010.
In the training round earlier this morning, overall World Cup’s leader Mario Stecher injured after a 110.5 m attempt (laceration of the capsule of the right knee). In a first moment, it seemed that the Austrian wouldn’t be able to start at the two individual competititons tomorrow and the day after tomorrow, but his team coaches confirmed his entry for the competitions in the afternoon.
Today’s top three:
1. Norway 470.9 (4)/46:59.2 (1) 47:31.2
2. Austria 474.5 (2)/47:16.1 (2) +11.9
3. France 495.1 (1)/48:19.1 (5) +47.9
Mikko Kokslien, Norway
“It was a very nice race, and my strategy to ski with Gruber first and to break away in the last kilometers of the race, worked out.”
“Once more, we have shown that we are a strong team. This gives us confidence for the World Championship competitions in Oslo.”
Jan Schmid, Norway
“At the beginning of the last leg, I was quite sure that we would make it. We have won the last two World Cup Team competitions, we are moving in right direction towards our home Worlds.”
Bernhard Gruber, Austria
“I was able to skate with Mikko Kokslien for most of the leg, but when he increased the speed, I had to let him go. We all know what a great skier Mikko is, congratulations to himn and the Norwegian team.”
“We are happy about second place. We are not that arrogant to say that only first places count.”
Jason Lamy Chappuis
“It is a greast feeling being on the podium not alone but with the team-mates. We want to win a team medal at the World Championships, today, we proved that we are ready for this achievement.”
“I know that Tino Edelmann is stronger than I am, but maybe he lost some power in catching me. Our race was a kind of cat-and-dog play, with a lot of tactic. I was sure that the last 200 meters would be the decisive one, and I focused on that sprint.”