- Associated Press - Sunday, January 31, 2016

SEEFELD, Austria (AP) - Olympic champion Eric Frenzel of Germany made up a deficit of nearly one minute in a 10-kilometer cross country race on Sunday to win the Nordic Combined Triple for the third straight year.

Frenzel, who dominated the first two events this weekend, crashed after landing his ski jump in difficult conditions due to snowfall earlier Sunday. He escaped injuries but had to start the cross country race 56 seconds behind leader Akito Watabe of Japan.

“I thought, ‘I can’t do it today.’ Those 56 seconds to Akito seemed too much,” Frenzel said. “But I tried to put the anger I had from that crash into the cross country. For me, this is an outstanding result.”

Frenzel consistently reduced his deficit but still trailed by 39 seconds after five kilometers. However, he took the lead in the final loop shortly after Watabe stumbled. The Japanese got up quickly but had lost his rhythm.

“In the last loop, I saw I came closer and I knew I had to try everything, to risk everything,” said Frenzel, adding he hadn’t seen Watabe’s fall.

Frenzel finished in 26 minutes, 45.8 seconds and beat Watabe by 18.7. Fabian Riessle of Germany came 1:09.1 back in third.

The annual Nordic Combined Triple adds the results of all three events in one weekend, with the overall winner earning double World Cup points.

Frenzel extended his lead in the overall standings. The three-time defending champion is on 671 points, 97 clear of Riessle. Watabe is third with 554.

Sunday’s program initially included two ski jumps and a 15K cross country race, but fog and snowfall forced organizers to delay the start of the jumping by two hours.

They reduced the competition to one round of jumping and shortened the cross country by 5K.

Fresh snow on the hill made conditions difficult. Frenzel’s German teammate Jakob Lange also crashed after his landing. He hurt his knee, suffered several bruises and didn’t start in the cross country race.

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