Norway’s Jan Schmid wins pre-Olympic Nordic combined World Cup event

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HAKUBA, Japan (AP) – Norway’s Jan Schmid won his third Nordic combined World Cup event of the season on Sunday to maintain his position as one of the gold medal favorites at the Pyeongchang Olympics.

After placing seventh in the ski jumping stage, Schmid erased a 1 minute, 14-second deficit in the 10-kilometer cross-country race to finish 6.6 seconds ahead of Estonia’s Kristjan Ilves.

Schmid surged ahead of Ilves with less than one kilometer left to add to his previous World Cup wins in Italy and France last month.

“I managed on the last climb to catch him,” Schmid said. “In the race I tried to go full speed at the end and hope that nobody follows me and fortunately, It worked.”

Akito Watabe of Japan, who entered Sunday’s event with four straight wins on the World Cup circuit, was third, 11.1 seconds behind.

Watabe still leads the overall World Cup standings with 905 points, 20 ahead of Schmid. Norway’s Joergen Graabek, who did not compete in Hakuba, is third with 528 points.

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