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Lodwick takes fourth

Nordic combined skier Todd Lodwick just missed the podium Thursday in Schonach, Germany, where he placed fourth in the rainy finale of the three-meet German Grand Prix.

Finland’s Hannu Manninen won the event and was followed by Austria’s Mario Stecher in second and Japan’s Daito Takahashi in third.

Lodwick was first after the jumping portion and held a 1 minute, 14 second advantage over Manninen, who was eighth going into the cross country. Takahashi, who was second in the jumping, started the cross country 10 seconds back, and Austria’s Stecher, who was sixth after the jumping, started 1:10 back.

Manninen made a strong move on the six-lap, 15-kilometer cross-country course as he quickly moved to the front of the pack and then steamed past Lodwick.

Manninen went on to win the race by a margin of 46.5 seconds over Stecher. Takahashi moved into third 46.7 back, and Lodwick finished fourth 49.1 back.

American Johnny Spillane was eighth 1:20.2 back, World Cup rookie Eric Camerota was 3:25.3 back in 20th, and Bill Demong was 3:28.5 back in 21st.

The results kept Lodwick in third place in the overall World Cup Standings with 370 total points.

Manninen holds a slight lead over German Ronny Ackerman, who dropped out of Thursday’s event after placing 41st in the jumping.

Manninen has 546 points, Ackerman has 540, Lodwick is in third, and Austrian Felix Gottwald, who placed sixth in Thursday’s event, is fourth with 297 points.

Other top Americans include Spillane in ninth with 219 points, Demong in 18th with 95 points and Camerota in 33rd with 45 points.

The next stop for the World Cup tour will be in Seefeld, Austria, for a sprint (one jump and a 7.5-kilomter cross-country race) Saturday. On Sunday the athletes will compete in a two-jump, 15-kilometer event.

The Nordic skiers then move to Liberec in the Czech Republic on Jan. 22 and 23, and Sapporo, Japan, on Jan. 29 and 30 before wrapping up the second period at the site of the 2006 Winter Olympic Games on Feb. 11 and 12 in Pragelato, Italy.

The FIS Nordic World Championships will take place Feb. 17 and 18 in Oberstdorf, Germany.


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