Lamy Chappuis gives the second gold to France
Despite it’s name, nordic combined isn’t only a sport discipline reserved to Northern Europeans. The second French gold in Nordic Combined in the Nordic World Ski Championships Trentino Fiemme 2013 proves this fact, highlighting also the skills of Jason Lamy Chappuis, captain of the French team and «finisseur» of the French masterpiece created on the snow of Val di Fiemme.
France conquered the gold thanks to the amazing performances of Francois Braud, Maxime Laheurte, Sebastien Lacroix and Jason Lamy Chappuis on the HS106 of Predazzo and the ski-track of Lago di Tesero. What really made the trick for France were the incredible sprinting skills of Lamy Chappuis, who defeated Magnus Moan right before the finish line, leaving the silver to the Norwegian team composed by Joergen Graabak, Haavard Klemetsen, Magnus Krog and Magnus Moan. The bronze medal went to USA who competed with a team consisting of the Fletcher brothers (Taylor and Bryan), Todd Lodwick and Bill Demong.
During the morning, on the HS106 of Predazzo, the wind conditions resulted to be very tricky for the athletes, who had to struggle with strong wind gusts that suspended the ski-jumping session several times. The third round of the race had even to restart because of the unstable wind conditions and different athletes had to jump twice to grant a fair competition.
At the end of the ski-jumping session, Japan, France and Austria occupied the first three positions of the ranking. The Japanese proved to be the best jumpers of Nordic Combined with the performances of Yoshito and Akito Watabe, Yusuke Minato and Taihei Kato, while the Austrian jumpers had to settle for third after the jumps shown by Wilhelm Denifl, Bernhard Gruber, Lukas Klapfer and Mario Stecher.
The 4x5 km relay in Lago di Tesero started at 15:00, with Japan 22 seconds ahead of France and 25 seconds ahead of Austria. Already after few kilometers, Braud and Denifl closed the gap on Yoshito Watabe, while Taylor Fletcher started reducing the disadvantage on Graabak. Denifl exploited at best his skills as good cross-country skier to break away from the other two and at the fist exchange he brought Austria in first position, with almost 20’’ on a group consisting of France, Japan, Norway and USA.
During the second leg, Gruber kept the Austrian leadership and controlled the race, while the others stayed behind and seemed unable to find the right cooperation to close on the leader. The situation changed completely during the third leg, with Lacroix, Lodwick, Krog and Akito Watabe working together to reach the Austrian leader, Klapfer. Once he reached the leader, Magnus Krog attacked his travel companions with a powerful action on the «Zorzi climb», the last one before entering the cross-country stadium. Only Akito Watabe and Sebastien Lacroix were able to keep the tails of the Norwegian, while Klapfer and Lodwick lost precious seconds and reached the third exchange 8’’ behind the leaders
Nevertheless, right after the exchange, Demong and Minato didn’t lose any time and in few kilometers closed in on the leaders, taking the provisional leadership, right in front of Moan, Stecher and Lamy Chappuis. Demong tried everything in his power to keep the pace high and tire out his competitors, but it wasn’t enough and on the second-last climb Lamy Chappuis and Moan attacked, taking Demong with them. Everything had to be decided on the last climb and Moan proved to be the best on this ground, speeding up the hill as fast as he could. Only Lamy Chappuis was able to follow the strong Norwegian skier, entering the final straight of the stadium only few meters behind him.
Moan started sprinting right at the bottom of the small downhill placed at the entrance of the final straight and at first it looked like even the fast Lamy Chappuis had to surrender to the power of the Norwegian. Then, Lamy Chappuis found the energies needed to increase exponentially his speed and engage a neck-to-neck race against Moan for the gold. The battle was settled at the plunge under the finish line, with Lamy Chappuis defeating Moan with a state-of-the-art telemark. Behind them, the battle for the bronze was won by the USA, who conquered their second medal of the day.
With this gold, France repeats the success seized in the HS106/10 km Individual Gundersen of a couple of days ago, proving that even Nordic Combined can be a sport discipline where even «southern Europe» countries can excel.