On the closing day of Continental Cup competition, Olympic Champion Billy Demong cruised to victory, earning the USA an additional World Cup spot. (Photo: Riley Steinmetz/U.S. Ski Team)
SOLDIER HOLLOW, UT (Dec. 19) – Olympic Champion Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) finished strong on the final day of the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup at Soldier Hollow with a commanding win over Austria’s Tomaz Druml. Demong started the day winning the jump with a massive 95.5 meter ride, giving him a 40 second lead going into the cross country race. Demong maintained his lead throughout the entire race. Druml took second, followed by Hugo Buffard of France. Because of Demong’s success over the weekend, the USA earned a fifth World Cup spot for the remainder of the season.
Olympic Champion Billy Demong claimed victory over Austria’s Tomaz Druml in the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup at Soldier Hollow and the Utah Olympic Park.
Demong began the day with a strong, 95.5 meter jump, giving him a 40 second lead going into the cross country race.
Druml chased Demong throughout the entire race, but Demong never relinquished his lead.
The rest of U.S. nordic combined continued to find success in cross country, with Adam Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) and Nick Hendrickson (Park City, UT) posting the 14th and 15th fastest cross country times of the day.
Demong’s success at the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup series this week earned an additional World Cup spot for U.S. nordic combined, bringing their total World Cup spots to five.
Billy Demong I really invested a lot of time and effort this summer into jumping and have a very stable platform. The potential is much higher this year. Honestly, the last couple days the jumps have been getting better and better as I have gotten acclimated to the time. I'm excited about the direction I'm going. Having a good head start like that is really good training because being top ten in a World Cup and winning a race of any kind, it’s a different mentality. It's good to have practice being out front and experience what that feels like to be the hunted person instead of hunting other people down.
I think there are guys who benefit from skiing in a group and it can be faster to work with people especially when conditions are windy like today. But, on the other hand, if you are a good skier and are confident and listen to your body, you can settle into your own rhythm and not work on anybody else's dime. Today I felt like I was able to meter my effort throughout the race very well. I was right on the line but never over it. It’s good training to basically do a time trial like that. It felt good to maintain that kind of gap.
I'm just going to keep building. I feel like things are falling into place with 50 days to go here. The whole team is stepping forward week by week and I feel like we are in a good place.
Tomaz Druml, Austria I felt really good in the cross country. It went easy from the beginning and I could continue my pace. I tried to push it a little bit the last two laps to catch up on this strong American Billy here, but I couldn't really make the huge gap up. Still, I'm really happy with it.
I have great feelings about this whole weekend. It's good for my self-confidence. I know I have some more potential in the ski jumping but my cross country shape is definitely here because I got faster and faster during the weekend. That gives me lots of confidence for the next races in the World Cup.
Hugo Buffard, France This morning it was difficult because it was snowing. But I'm happy with my jump. It was hard for the race because the track was soft and wet – not very fast. But I had a good race. This is my first time in Soldier Hollow. It's a nice place to be.
Greg Poirier, Coach Another great day for Team USA and especially Bill. He was really good on the jump hill this morning and finally did the jump he's been looking for all week long. He had a nice lead for the cross country race. He did exactly what we needed him to do this week—earned us that fifth and crucial spot going into the next period of the World Cup. Bill did what Bill came home to do. The others, another good day, just not quite finding great form on the ski jump, but still looking really sharp on the cross country. So, I’m also excited for our B Team group behind Bill.