Fresh from his World Championship win Feb. 28 in Liberec, Czech Republic, Bill Demong showed he's still on fire Friday, earning his fourth World Cup win of the season in Finland.
"It was for sure a big goal to keep the momentum going from World Championships. I felt a little tired this week, but all things considered, it was a really good competition," Demong said.
Demong headed in to the cross-country portion of the competition sitting in sixth from the jumping round. According to Nordic combined head coach Dave Jarrett, Demong encountered some of the most challenging jumping conditions of the day and still managed to do well.
"The most impressive thing today out of Bill was his jump. He had some of the worst conditions on the hill and had an awesome jump," Jarrett said. "Had he had conditions that were similar to what other athletes had, he could have won the jumps. It was impressive."
Starting the cross-country race 19 seconds back, Demong said he had to pull from within to get the victory.
"I had a good jump, but the race was very difficult. I had to dig deep, and I was actually a little bit surprised to pull away from those guys on the last lap," Demong said. "Luckily, I had the legs to put in one good move a couple K from the finish and hold it the whole way in."
For Demong, taking three weeks off prior to the world championships was not only a key for his success in Liberec but a tool for further success at the end of the World Cup season.
"I think last year, I was a little bit down at the end of the season. I think part of the reason I took three weeks off prior to worlds was to get ready for the Championships but also to try to keep fresh physically and mentally for the last push of the season," Demong said. "Today really helps me to not only keep the momentum but keep me psyched for these last few competitions. After today, I'm pretty fired up to keep going."
Following his win Friday, Demong sits third in the World Cup standings with 920 points behind leader Anssi Koivuranta, of Finland, who has 1249 points, and Norway's Magnus Moan, who sits in second with 1170 points.
"I was excited after our break to see that I was still fourth place, overall. I think it's now the goal, for sure, to keep my third. Hopefully, it's an exciting fight all the way here," Demong said.
Demong continues the battle again Saturday in Lahti before moving on to the final two World Cup events of the season in Vikersund, Norway.