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Norway’s Vik Wins Nordic Combined

January 3, 2001

REIT IM WINKL, Germany (AP) _ Norway’s Bjarte Engen Vik, the Olympic and world champion, won his second straight Nordic combined World Cup event Wednesday.

Coming off a victory in his homeland in Lillehammer on Dec. 30, Engen Vik beat Felix Gottwald of Austria by 0.5 points.

Gottwald, who has two victories in five events this season, retained his lead in overall World Cup standings. Engen Vik moved from third to second, vaulting past Germany’s Ronny Ackermann, who finished fourth Wednesday. Hannu Manninen of Finland was third.

Gottwald lost precious seconds in the morning’s 10-kilometer mass-start cross-country race after tangling with Ladislav Rigl of the Czech Republic two kilometers from the finish.

Rigl tried to overtake Gottwald on a steep climb but fell. The Austrian’s skis caught the fallen Rigl and Gottwald finished fifth in the race, just behind Engen Vik.

In the later ski jumping portion, Gottwald took the lead after the first heat by clearing 91 meters. But Engen Vik, who jumped 88.5 meters in the first run, bounced back in the second series by landing the longest jump of the day at 92 meters. That gave him a winning total of 239.5 points.

``I was late in the takeoff for the first jump but I changed my technique in the second and I had a good jump,″ Engen Vik said. ``I also had a good race.″

Gottwald’s second jump was 89.5 meters and he finished with 239 points.

``I am not disappointed at all by missing out on the first place, I am very pleased with my performance,″ Gottwald said.

Manninen, who was sixth in the race, put together jumps of 91.5 and 89 meters for a total of 237.2 points.

After five events, Gottwald leads overall World Cup standings with 595 points, while Engen Vik has 532. Ackermann is third with 500.

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