Italy: Manninen clinches seventh win of the season on Nordic World Cup

Overall leader Hannu Manninen of Finland clinched his seventh World Cup victory of the season in Nordic combined by beating Austrians Mario Stecher and Felix Gottwald in Sunday's 7.5-kilometer event.

Manninen, in impressive form one month ahead of the Turin Olympics, dominated the cross country portion of the event to make up for a 17th-place finish in the ski jump.

The Finn, taking a one-minute gap from the jump into the sprint race, ended up in 19 minutes, 59.9 seconds to edge Stecher by 2.2 seconds and Gottwald by 3.1. Another Finn, Jaakko Tallus, placed fourth, 20.6 back.

Christoph Bieler of Austria, who led the ski jump with a leap of 132 meters, trailed Manninen by 22.4 following a 24th-place finish in cross country, the AP reported. Sunday's win extended Manninen's overall World Cup lead to 363 points. Manninen has 864 points, followed by Ronny Ackermann of Germany 501.

Ackermann was a distant 11th in Sunday's event. The next round of the Nordic combined World Cup is at Harrachov, Czech Republic, next weekend.