OBERHOF, Germany - Todd Lodwick made an impressive return to Nordic combined skiing's top circuit, finishing second to Magnus Moan of Norway in a photo finish Saturday in the American's first World Cup event in nearly three years.
Moan finished seventh in the morning ski jumping portion and then edged Lodwick and overall leader Anssi Koivuranta of Finland in the 10-kilometer cross-country race to finish in 25 minutes, 22.8 seconds.
The trio skied together for the last 1.5 kilometers before Moan won the final sprint, beating Lodwick by 0.3 seconds and Koivuranta by 0.4. Bill Demong of the U.S. was fifth.
"Let's just say it was a fairy tale," Lodwick said of his finish. "This has been a long road back in a short amount of time. I have never trained so hard in my entire career to come back."
Lodwick, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., has been competing on the Continental Cup tour since coming out of retirement this month. The four-time Olympian hopes to compete at the Vancouver Games.
"My expectations were to come in here and be top 15, and this is a huge leap forward," he said. "I wouldn't say I didn't think it was possible, but I definitely didn't expect it."
Koivuranta, who won the ski jumping session with a jump of 139 meters, leads the overall standings ahead of Moan. Demong, Vermontville, N.Y., is fourth.