Olympic champion Billy Demong rounds a high speed corner en route to a second place finish in the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup at Soldier Hollow. (U.S. Ski Team – Tom Kelly)
SOLDIER HOLLOW, UT (Dec. 18) – Olympic Champion Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) finished second to Austria’s Tomaz Druml on day two of the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup at Soldier Hollow. Demong jumped into seventh to start the cross country portion behind Druml and three of his Austrian teammates. Italian Lukas Runggaldier, who finished second on the opening day of competition, came from 19th to finish in third. Demong maintained his Continental Cup lead going into Thursday’s finale.
Olympic Champion Billy Demong finished second behind Austria’s Tomaz Druml in the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup at Soldier Hollow and the Utah Olympic Park.
Demong jumped into seventh place on the Olympic jumps to start the cross country portion.
The cross country race was led primarily by a pack of Austrians, with Demong catching all but Druml during the final lap.
It was a strong day for U.S. nordic combined, with Nick Hendrickson (Park City, UT) cracking the top 10 with a ninth place finish and Adam Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) finishing 14th after beginning the cross country portion in 31st.
The FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup series wraps up Thursday on the 2002 Olympic ski jumps at Utah Olympic Park and the cross country course at Soldier Hollow.
Billy Demong Today was another good day with good weather. I had a reasonably good jump in seventh after jumping, so it's a good solid start after last year. I really thought I had a chance to win today. It's a really high level on the Continental Cup now, there's a lot of World Cup skiers like myself. I was just struggling to stay 10 seconds behind the lead group for a long time and finally was able to start catching them as we got closer to the finish line and managed to get second place. Actually crossing in second felt like a victory. It's really a tight level and good training for me and I'm also psyched to be home and able to compete with such a strong field in front of a good crowd. I'm looking forward to tomorrow.
Tomaz Druml, Austria I was 28 seconds behind the leader and knew there were many strong skiers around like Bill Demong and Lukas Runggaldier coming from the back. I knew I had to be strong on the last laps. I just tried to go my pace and go all the way. I didn't have to push all the way to win this race.
It helped a lot to ski with my teammates because you have the confidence that the other guys can help you if you're struggling. But today was a little bit different because I was the one leading the group – one guy helped me a bit. I just had to go my pace and sometimes it's easier to go with your race speed than to adapt to another speed. It helped me to keep Bill Demong and Lukas Runggaldier at a distance.
I've been here many times. Soldier Hollow is a great place to ski. The area for cross country tracks is just amazing. This course is a bit tough because they have some loops and turns in it.
It's amazing at the Utah Olympic Park – great hills and a perfect profile. I just really love it here and hope that we can come back here for many years. And I hope that maybe there can be a World Cup here.
Lukas Runggaldier, Italy I caught Bill on the second lap and on the third lap I went in front of him because we had to make a faster tempo because the Austrian guys were closing behind us. On the fourth lap I tried to pull away but Bill was too strong. I tried two times to go but I was just too tired. Then on the last curve he went on the inside and I just couldn't go ahead without crashing. The last hundred meters he went ahead to win. I have two more races and we'll see what I can do against Bill.
Greg Poirier, Coach Another great result for Bill. Really solid jumping again. Not his best jumping. Just a little timing issue and once he nails that down he should be leading these Continental Cup events after jumping. Solid race for him. He had to work really hard, skiing alone about 95% of the race today where the Austrian skiers were working in a group and really working as a team. But he hung tough. Also another great result today from Nick Hendrickson finishing 9th after starting 22nd and a really strong race from Adam Loomis skiing up from 31st up to 14th. Also the second day for another really strong result from junior Ben Berend.