Manninen Wins Again, Boosts Overall Lead

Saturday, January 8th 2005, 10:52 am
By: News On 6

SEEFELD, Austria (AP) _ Hannu Manninen of Finland won his second World Cup Nordic combined event in three days, using a strong cross country race Saturday to hold off Ronny Ackermann of Germany and increase his lead in the overall standings.

Manninen, who also won Thursday in Schonach, Germany, recorded his fourth victory of the season.

Only 19th after the ski jumping, Manninen began the 7.5-kilometer race 1 minute behind leader Daito Takahashi of Japan. But Manninen came on strong in the race, and won a sprint duel on the last straightaway with Ackermann.

Battling with Manninen for victory, Ackermann lost a pole on the last lap and could not keep up with his rival.

Manninen, who has 25 World Cup victories, won in 19 minutes, 57.6 seconds. Ackermann was a half-second behind and Ladislav Rygl of the Czech Republic was third.

Todd Lodwick of the United States, who led for most of the race but dropped back near the end, finished sixth. The 2003 sprint world champion, American John Spillane, finished eighth.

After eight events, Manninen has 646 points _ 26 points ahead of Ackermann. Lodwick is third overall with 410 points.