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Simon Schempp grabs top honors in Biathlon World Cup sprint

Germany's Simon Schempp has a earned a biathlon sprint victory at the World Cup in Italy, sharing first place with local boy Lukas Hofer in a rare dead heat finish. Ted Ligety grabbed top honors in the super-combined.

Schempp and Hofer both finished in 22 minutes, 44.9 seconds on the 10 kilometer course in Anterselva on Friday. Hofer skied one penalty lap, while Schempp did not miss a single shot.

Germany's Arnd Peiffer finished third, 4.3 seconds back, after also hitting all 10 targets.

Schempp was initially timed three-tenths of a second faster than Hofer, but the two were given the same time shortly afterwards. It's the first ever World Cup victory for either Schempp or Hofer.

"Unbelievable! This is crazy and gives me a lot of confidence before the [Sochi Winter] Olympic Games," the 25-year-old Schempp said after the race.

Schempp and Peiffer's finishes marked the first time two Germans reached the podium since Andreas Birnbacher and Alexander Wolf two years ago in Oslo.

"We're definitely on a good path," Schempp said. "We can be satisfied with two Germans on the podium."

"We are ready for the Olympics," Peiffer added.

Nordic combined win for Frenzel

Eric Frenzel of Germany got his fourth win of the season in the Nordic combined at Seefeld, Austria, on Friday. In second place after the ski jump, he jumped into first following his 12-minute, 37.4-second sprint on the 5 kilometer cross-country course.

Skisjumper Eric Frenzel

It's been a good string of results for Frenzel

Norway's Magnus Moan, the fastest skier of the day, was 8.4 seconds back in second, with third-place Tino Edelmann of Germany a further second behind.

"It's been a good day," Frenzel said. "My jump went well and I skied my own race. I lost some time [to Moan] but I am really pleased with this victory.

The victory helped the 25-year-old Frenzel extend his lead in the overall standings. His 503 points are far ahead of 2010 Olympic gold medalist Jason Lamy Chappuis of France (376) and Japan's Akito Watabe (373).

Ligety 'round the corner'

Alpine skiing gold medal favorite Ted Ligety expressed satisfaction with his World Cup victory in the super-combined in Wengen, Switzerland. The 29-year-old American, a four-time World Cup giant slalom champion, had struggled of late after a strong start to the season.

"Winning the super-combined here is definitely a nice little confidence boost and step in the right direction for getting ready for Sochi," he said. "I've never put together the runs I needed to win a World Cup in combined so it's nice to finally get that and do it in a place like Wengen is the ideal place to get a super-combined victory."

Ligety clocked in at 2 minutes, 44.84 seconds - 0.22 seconds ahead of France's Alexis Pinturault. Natko Zrncic-Dim of Croatia was third, 1.08 seconds back.

After failing to complete five of his last seven races last season, there was concern Ligety might not be on form for next month's Olympic Games in Russia, but Friday's victory gave renewed hope to the 2006 Olympic combined gold medalist.

"I've had some horrible, horrible luck this year," Ligety said. "It's been a tough January. I haven't finished any of the slaloms either, so it's nice to round the corner and get a good race under by belt."

"It's nice to get the winning feeling again, and it's especially cool to get that winning feeling in an event other than the giant slalom," he added.

dr/mkg (dpa, SID, AP, Reuters)

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