Bill Demong turned in the second-fastest 7.5K race Sunday and moved up 14 places in a World Cup hurricane start sprint event. Demong finished sixth behind Germany's Bjoern Kircheisen, who couldn't catch the U.S. Nordic combined skier who has trained and lived in Steamboat Springs.
Demong's sixth-place finish came on the heels of his third World Cup event victory just a week ago.
In Sunday's hurricane start, skiers formed a coil at distances behind the jumping leader based on a handicap formula from their jumping. They uncoil as everyone starts together.
Kircheisen, who was third in the one round of jumping on Ramsau's 98-meter hill, finished 3.1 seconds ahead of teammate Ronny Ackermann. Demong, 20th after jumping, charged through the three-lap course and finished 11.8 seconds back in a photo finish with Austrian Christoph Bieler and a group of a half-dozen skiers.
Demong and Norway's Magnus Moan skied together most of the race, pulling each other to the front. Moan had the fastest 7.5K to finish fifth, and Demong was second-fastest as he climbed to sixth place. After six events, Demong is fourth in the overall World Cup standings behind Kircheisen.
Steamboat's Johnny Spillane had his worst jumping day of the season, finishing 37th in the one round, but moved up to 28th during the 7.5K sprint.
"The race obviously went pretty well," Demong said. "We had some dead air during the jumping, and the TD (technical delegate, who oversees any competition) decided to keep the speeds low on the in-run, so nobody was jumping far.
"We're struggling a bit with our jumping on smaller hills, so we're going to work on that during the holidays. For me, Lake Placid has a great hill to train on, so I'm psyched to get home and get some practice jumps."
The World Cup schedule resumes Dec. 30 in Oberhof, Germany, with the annual German Grand Prix, the three-event series within the series of World Cup competitions. Schonach will hold two events Jan. 5-6.
Demong won the Warsteiner Nordic Combined World Cup event in
Trondheim, Norway on Dec. 8. He edged German Bjoern Kircheisen at the finish line. Spillane overcame stomach problems to finish 13th.
Demong, a three-time Olympian, finished seven-tenths of a second ahead of Kircheisen, who had the fastest 15K race. World Cup leader Ronny Ackermann of Germany was third, 8.5 seconds back.