February 20, 2015

FALUN, Sweden (AP) Johannes Rydzek of Germany beat Alessandro Pittin of Italy in a two-man sprint to the finish Friday to win the Nordic combined normal hill event at the Nordic skiing world championships.

Rydzek and Pittin pulled away from five other skiers on the final kilometer of the 10K cross-country race and the German had the stronger finish to earn his first world title after getting three silver medals in 2011. He finished in 26 minutes, 38.9 seconds, beating Pittin by 1.3 seconds.

''Every child that comes to sport has this dream to be a world champion, and now I am one,'' Rydzek said.

Defending world champion Jason Lamy Chappuis of France was third while Olympic champion Eric Frenzel of Germany had to settle for fourth after leading following the ski jump portion.

Rydzek was fifth after the ski jump and started the cross-country race 31 seconds behind Frenzel, while Pittin started 1:16 back.

Rydzek was among five skiers who had caught up to Frenzel by the 3.5K mark, while Pittin didn't join the leaders until the last of four laps. But the Italian kept pushing and made a move to pull away from the others in an uphill section, with only Rydzek able to keep up.

''I tried everything to go alone,'' Pittin said. ''But for sure, Johannes was faster than me when we entered the stadium.''

Former Olympic champion Bill Demong of the United States tried to make up a gap of nearly a minute in the cross-country race but tired toward the end and finished 25th.

''I felt pretty good for the first couple of laps, but when I had to follow other people, I think I fell apart a little bit,'' Demong said.

Taylor Fletcher was the best American in 19th, while his brother Bryan was 21st.

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