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France leads Nordic combined team sprint after ski jump

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FALUN, Sweden (AP) France defended its world championship title in the Nordic combined team sprint event Saturday after Jason Lamy Chappuis held off Germany's Johannes Rydzek in the final sprint.

France won by 2.7 seconds at the end of the cross-country sprint relay, which featured two skiers on each team taking turns doing five laps around a 1.5-kilometer course.

Norway took bronze, 19.4 seconds back, with Finland more than a minute behind in fourth place.

France had a narrow lead after the ski jump portion and stayed in front during a race on an increasingly soft surface that slowed the skiers down.

''It was really hard to race because the snow was so soft,'' said Lamy Chappuis, who won his fifth career world title.

The course was also used during the women's 30K cross-country race earlier Saturday, which had softened the snow before the Nordic combined event started. With each lap of the sprint relay, the surface became even softer and Germany's Eric Frenzel described the conditions as ''really bad.''

''It was not like world championships for me today,'' Frenzel said.