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Ackermann Wins Nordic Combined

February 29, 2004

OSLO, Norway (AP) _ Germany’s Ronny Ackermann won a World Cup Nordic combined event Sunday, keeping alive his slight chance for another overall title.

Ackermann finished second in the morning ski jump and then won the 15-kilometer cross-country race in 37 minutes, 16.0 seconds. It was the 20th World Cup victory and the seventh this season for the two-time defending overall champion.

Samppa Lajunen of Finland was second for the second straight day, 23 seconds behind Ackermann. Mario Stecher placed third, 40.2 seconds back, and Johnny Spillane of the United States was fifth.

Hannu Manninen of Finland, who won the sprint event Saturday, was eighth but moved closer to the overall title.

With two events left next weekend at Lahti, Finland, Manninen tops the standings with 1,282 points. Ackermann has 1,095. Each win is worth 100 points, so Ackermann must win the last two events to have any chance of keeping the overall crown.

Ackermann, a silver medalist in the sprint at the 2002 Winter Olympics, was runner-up in the 2001 World Cup before finishing on top the last two seasons.

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