COC-M: Kokslien wins in Steamboat Springs
Norwegian veteran Mikko Kokslien took home first place in the first Nordic Combined Continental Cup of the season. In a tightly packed race, Kokslien was able to break away from the lead pack in the final kilometer, just beating teammate Truls Soenstehagen Johansen by 0.6 seconds, who finished second. The Norwegians finished only a few seconds ahead of Hugo Buffard of France, who had the fastest race of the day skiing from 29th place.
Conditions earlier in the day were crisp and clear for the jumping. Tobias Simon of Germany was the leader following the competition round on the HS75 in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Simon’s jump of 71.5 meters (125.8 pts) would give him a six second lead over second place, Ben Loomis of the USA, who also jumped 71.5 meters (124.3 pts). Sindre Ure Soetvik jumped 71 meters (124.2 pts).
The first Continental Cup cross-country race of the season was a night race, held under the lights. Temperatures dropped with the sun and skiers braved a cold evening. Soon after the race began, packs began to form at the front. Buffard of France flew up the ranks in the first two laps and before the race had reached halfway, he had taken the lead. Kokslien and Johansen, who had started three seconds apart, had worked together to move into the top three, along with Loomis, who was skiing strong, and Lukas Runggaldier of Italy, who had moved up from 22nd place.
It was anyone’s race coming into the final few hundred meters. Kokslien made a move, with Johansen right behind, was able to create a small separation. A quick turn before the sprint finish was enough to keep Kokslien in the lead across the line.
"I had hoped to get away, but it was so fast, the conditions are really fast, and it’s a pretty easy course", the winner said after the race. "We had a big pack and I knew there were a lot of fast skiers, so I tried for the last one and a half laps to stay a bit behind and save energy for the sprint. It feels really good to win, it’s been a while. I like Steamboat very much. I was here in 2005-06. It’s a nice place where I enjoy myself."
Alex Glueck / USA Nordic
Tomorrow morning, athletes will ski in the second of three competitions scheduled for the opening weekend of Continental Cup in Steamboat. And, once again, we are excited to remind you that both the jumping and the cross country will be streamed live from USA Nordic or livestream.com.
Streaming Schedule Saturday, 16th of December
18:30 CET HS 75 Ski Jumping Competition Round
22:30 CET 10 km Cross-country Race