American Spillane gets 1st Nordic combined victory

Jan 3, 2010 - 3:39 PM OBERHOF, Germany(AP) -- Johnny Spillane of the United States earned his first Nordic combined World Cup victory on Sunday, beating Felix Gottwald of Austria by more than 30 seconds.

Spillane, the 2003 sprint world champion, finished second in the ski jumping portion and began the 10-kilometer cross-country race with a 2-second handicap, but won the event in 28 minutes, 13.3 seconds.

"It was good jumping and good racing. I know when I can put the two together I can do well," said Spillane, who had his first podium finish since 2007. "I just went for it today and fortunately it felt good and it worked out."

Spillane took the lead right after the start and at one point led the field by 47 seconds.

"I had a good jump, put myself in a good position, and just went for it right from the start of the race and didn't worry about where other people were," he said. "I just tried to ski my own race."

Gottwald finished 30.8 seconds behind and Bjoern Kircheisen of Germany was third, 39.1 seconds back.

Bill Demong of Vermontville, N.Y., finished 13th, 1:33.1 behind Spillane.

Spillane, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., moved up to fourth from ninth in the overall World Cup standings.

"It's been nice to just be consistent. That's one of the big problems I've had over the last few years is I'd have really good weeks and really bad weeks," said Spillane, who was fourth in Saturday's competition on the same course. Gottwald was second on both days.

"Johnny had an awesome race," said U.S. Nordic combined coach Dave Jarrett. "He just put his head down and skied. He dropped everyone."

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