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Taylor Fletcher (right) earned his second career podium in Sapporo, Japan, on Saturday, behind Eric Frenzel (center, GER) and Akito Watabe (left, JPN). (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined/Instagram)

Taylor Fletcher (right) earned his second career podium in Sapporo, Japan, on Saturday, behind Eric Frenzel (center, GER) and Akito Watabe (left, JPN). (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined/Instagram)

Taylor Fletcher of Steamboat Springs, Colorado, turned in a third-place effort in Saturday’s Large Hill 10 k competition in Sapporo, Japan. It’s the second individual World Cup podium of his career after another third-place performance in Austria in 2013.

Ranking just 28th after the jump, Fletcher clocked the fastest ski time of the day by 20 seconds. He moved all the way up onto the podium, finishing just 3.5 seconds shy of Eric Frenzel of Germany, who won for the second day in a row. Second place went to Akito Watabe of Japan (+1.8 seconds).

Fletcher launched an attack after catching the lead pack late in the race, but Frenzel was able to counter.

“Today was a great day,” Fletcher said in a press conference. “I had a fantastic jump. I was closer to the front than I’ve been in a long time. With that, I knew that I had a realistic shot at a podium. I had my brother [start] right in front of me, and we were able to work together for a little while…. I went in and skied a hard race like I know I have been capable of. This is my first podium in over a year and it’s fantastic to be back. I hope to continue in this fashion.”

Taylor’s brother Bryan Fletcher followed up Friday’s ninth-place effort with one better: eighth place in the Large Hill (+21.9). He skied up from being ranked 27th after the jump. Adam Loomis finished 36th (+2:59).

Results

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The U.S. Ski Team’s Bryan Fletcher finished out competition at the Seefeld Triple in Austria last weekend by finishing ninth in the normal hill 15 k competition, and started things off on just the same foot in Sapporo, Japan, on Friday by placing ninth again in the large hill 10 k.

Eric Frenzel of Germany picked up the win, extending his already giant lead in the overall World Cup standings over teammate Fabian Riessle. Jan Schmid and Haavard Klemetsen of Norway finished second and third, 5.0 and 15.7 seconds behind Frenzel, respectively.

Fletcher racked up the eighth best jump, flying 100.6 meters. He started the cross country portion 57 seconds behind jump leader Yoshito Watabe of Japan, and along with several others, caught Watabe. Fletcher led the pack for a few kilometers until Frenzel and Schmid made a break for it. Fletcher finished in a pack with seven other racers fighting for fourth place. He ended up 25.2 seconds back.

“Today was an opportunity to go for it,” said Fletcher in a U.S. Ski Team press release. “I jumped well and skied my race well, laying it all on the line. Unfortunately it just didn’t work out. I blew up with just about one kilometer to go. I led most of the race and ultimately that was what cost me the podium. With the strong chasers coming from the back someone had to be the work horse.”

His brother Taylor finished 22nd, moving up from 36th after the jump. Adam Loomis also moved up in the cross country portion, skiing up to 28th place from 33rd.

Results

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On Thursday, Fast Big Dog filmed and edited the above video during a provisional-jump day in Sapporo, Japan. The Nordic Combined World Cup begins there on Friday and lasts through Saturday, with back-to-back individual competitions.

Trouble viewing video? Click here.

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The Seefeld Triple ended Sunday, Jan. 18, with Germany’s Eric Frenzel completing the three-day sweep of the World Cup competitions, and American Bryan Fletcher landing in ninth overall.
On Sunday, Fletcher jumped to 14th on the normal hill, then skied up to ninth in the 15 k (with the 10th-fastest ski time), finishing 1:24.3 after Frenzel.
“Today was another solid day on the jump hill adding to my confidence there,” Fletcher said in a USSA press release. “The race was solid and I was really happy to finish in the top ten.”
It was his fourth top 10 of the season, and Fletcher explained he was excited to build on his results at next weekend’s competition in Sapporo, Japan. On Saturday, he placed 11th.
“It was a strong comeback after my 39th place finish the first day [Friday],” Fletcher said.
U.S. teammate Billy Demong placed 16th on Sunday, for 16th overall in the Triple, after jumping to 17th. His 15 k time ranked 13th and Demong finished 2:16.8 behind Frenzel.
Norway’s Håvard Klemetsen jumped to first and ultimately placed second, 9.9 seconds behind Frenzel, who won in 38:25.9. Japan’s Akito Watabe improved from fifth in the jump to third overall (+20.5) to round out the Seefeld Triple podium.
Results: Sunday
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Saturday was a good day for Germany in the Seefeld, Austria, 10-kilometer competition, with two skiers making the podium – the untouchable Eric Frenzel, earning his second win in as many days in 25:54.7, and Tino Edelmann (+14.7) taking third after finishing 11th on Friday. Keeping it local, Bernhard Gruber of Austria took second place not far behind Frenzel (+2.9), rounding out the podium. Frenzel also won all three stages of the Seefeld Triple in 2014.

Bryan Fletcher was the top American in 11th after a characteristically good ski, with the fourth-fastest ski time. He was helped by a good jump, jumping into 25th, leaving him with a 1:54 handicap for the ski. He made up about 30 seconds on Frenzel, to finish 30.5 seconds behind.

“Today was a much better day for me on the jump hill,” Fletcher said, according to a USSA press release, comparing Saturday’s jump to the previous day. “I was able to put together a solid jump with a strong race and make up my deficit from yesterday. Going into tomorrow, I still have ground to make up but I will be focusing on performing like I did today and see how much more I can climb on the results sheet.”

American Billy Demong also did well, jumping in to 21st place (+56.4), a position he held to the finish of the cross-country leg. Also from the U.S., Taylor Fletcher posted the 10th-ranked ski time, but poor jumping left him with a 3:24 deficit to make up. He advanced from 44th to 34th, but it was not enough for him to make the top-30 to advance to Sunday’s competition with Demong and his brother, Bryan. The final American in the competition, Adam Loomis, also had a big hole to dig out of following a tough jump. He jumped into 48th-place, leaving him with a 3:59 starting deficit. He posted the 18th-fastest ski time, advancing to 38th.

“Good day for Bryan on both sides — jumping and cross country,” Head Coach Dave Jarrett said according to the press release. “Looking forward to the 15k tomorrow. Billy also was solid on the hill and is getting more race fit each race.

“While it was great to have four guys in the comp today,” he continued, “we were hoping Tay (Taylor Fletcher) and Adam would have got in the top 30 but the mistakes on the jumping hill compound and are hard to recover from.”

Saturday marks the second of three consecutive days of competition in Seefeld. Frenzel won on Friday, followed by two Norwegians, Jan Schmid and Jarl Magnus Riiber. Demong was the top American, in 28th, Taylor Fletcher was 34th, Bryan Fletcher was 39th, and Adam Loomis was 50th.

The Seefeld Triple finishes on Sunday with a 15 k competition.

Results: FridaySaturday

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Bryan Fletcher racing to eighth in the 10 k individual on Saturday at the World Cup in Chaux-Neuve, France. (Photo: Graham Longford)

Bryan Fletcher leads Germany’s Björn Kircheisen in Saturday’s 10 k individual at the World Cup in Chaux-Neuve, France. Fletcher went on to place eighth, and his brother Taylor Fletcher was fifth. (Photo: Graham Longford)

With the conditions too soggy for jumping, organizers switched Saturday’s Nordic Combined World Cup competition in Chaux-Neuve, France, from a team sprint to an individual race — using Friday’s provisional jump as the standard — which was fine by the Fletcher brothers.

Bryan Fletcher jumped to 25th and Taylor Fletcher positioned himself in 27th on Friday to put Bryan 1:42 and Taylor 2:04 minutes back for Saturday’s individual 10 k.

By the end of the day, both landed in the top 10 with Taylor skiing the fastest 10 k of anyone in the field and finishing fifth, 21.8 seconds behind Norwegian winner Magnus Moan. Bryan placed eighth, 14 seconds after his brother, for his third-individual top 10 of the season. It was Taylor’s first individual top 10 on the World Cup this winter.

“It’s a great feeling to produce this result and share the top 10 with my brother,” Taylor said in a USSA press release. “I thought a podium was a possibility as I was pulling in [Austria’s Bernhard] Gruber and [Norway’s Magnus] Krog but I ran out power with a half kilometer to go.”

While Krog took second and Gruber finished third, 12 seconds ahead of Taylor, Moan won for the second straight day in Chaux-Neuve (after another individual large-hill competition on Friday).

Adam Loomis (47) leads U.S. teammate Billy Demong (54) in Saturday's 10 k at the World Cup in Chaux-Neuve, France. Demong placed 32nd and Loomis finished 34th.   (Photo: Graham Longford)

Adam Loomis (47) leads U.S. teammate Billy Demong (54) in Saturday’s 10 k at the World Cup in Chaux-Neuve, France. Demong placed 32nd and Loomis finished 34th. (Photo: Graham Longford)

Also for the U.S., Billy Demong finished just outside the points in 32nd and Adam Loomis was 34th a day after scoring his first World Cup points in 21st. Also on Friday, Bryan Fletcher placed 20th and Taylor was 35th.

“Another great step in the right direction today,” U.S. Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett said. “Taylor and Bryan skied very well. Honestly we were hoping for all guys to be in the points today but Billy crashed in the third lap. Adam did a good job as well and almost skied into points too.”

Saturday’s results

Friday’s results

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Austria’s Lukas Klapfer held on after a strong showing on the jump to win Sunday’s World Cup men’s nordic combined event in Schonach, Germany, while Bryan Fletcher led the U.S. in ninth.

Klapfer was third after the jump with 126.1 points, and had the 21st fastest cross-country time on the 10 k course to finish in 24:36.2. Japan’s Akito Watabe was second (+1.0), finishing seventh after the jump (124.4 points) and posting the 18th fastest ski time. Jan Schmid of Norway finished third (+2.3), while Austria’s Bernhard Gruber was fourth (+3.4). Joergen Graabak finished with the eighth-fastest ski to round out the top five (+6.7).

The best jump of the day went to Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen, who earned 129.8 points – he almost held on for the win, but ended up seventh overall (+10.6). Alessandro Pittin of Italy had the fastest cross-country time, in 23:18.0, and finished sixth overall (+8.8) after a 36th place jump.

Bryan Fletcher led the Americans after posting the third-fastest ski (23:27.7) and 33rd best jump (108.5), ending up ninth overall (14.5), while Taylor Fletcher was 24th overall (+44.9) and managed the second-fastest ski of the day (23:25.1) after a 49th place jump (100.2).

“The comp today was a hard one,” Bryan Fletcher said in a USSA press release. “The rains yesterday made the conditions today on the cross country course very difficult. It was very soft in places, hard in others and tons of death cookie ice balls on some of the hills made the cross country portion a leg burner. After the jumping I was in a good spot with strong guys around me. I knew that there was potential to move up a lot in the cross country. I felt like I skied a great race, posting the third fastest time and was very happy to add another top ten to my results sheet this season.”

Ben Berend finished his first individual World Cup start in 46th overall (+3:52.2). The 19-year-old was 28th after the jump (110.7) before posting the 44th fastest ski (27:14.4).

“Ben Berend did a great job especially on the hill where we knew he should be competitive,” said U.S. Head Coach Dave Jarrett in a USSA press release. “He is still a junior so his focus is on Almaty (Junior Worlds).  Should be a confidence booster for Ben for the Contnental Cup event in Hoydalsmo (Norway) next weekend.”

Results

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Team Germany used the best jumping round of the day to cruise to a three-second win in the four-man team event as the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup continued after a holiday break in Schonach, Germany.

The German team of Eric Frenzel, Tino Edelmann, Bjorn Kircheisen, and Johannes Rydzek turned in consistent jumping — not a single man went under 100 meters — and then never relinquished the lead over the course of the four 5 k relay legs. Norway came close, moving from fourth after jumping up to second place, just 3.9 seconds back, at the finish. That was thanks to Mikko Kokslien and Joergen Graabak, who turned in the fastest times of the third and fourth legs, respectively. But it wasn’t enough to catch Germany.

France finished third, 12 seconds behind the Germans.

The United States was ranked seventh after jumping and finished seventh at the end of the day as well. Bryan Fletcher started things off in the relay, skiing the second-fastest first-leg time, but the team still dropped to eighth place (the fastest opening leg was skied by Armin Bauer of Italy, whose team had been in eighth after jumping). Next came Ben Berend, making his World Cup debut, then Adam Loomis. It was anchor skier Taylor Fletcher who moved the team back into seventh, dropping the Czech Republic team on his way.

“Couldn’t ask for a better team,” Berend tweeted after the competition. “We fought through a downpour of rain today but still managed to have a lot of fun.”

Racing continues in Schonach on Sunday with a normal-hill competition.

Final results

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World Cup Nordic Combined competition continued in Ramsau, Austria, this weekend with a team 4×5-kilometer event on Saturday and an individual 10 k competition on Sunday.

In Saturday’s team event Norway took first place in 45:41.1, chased closely by Germany, who took second place in a photo finish, only 0.1 seconds behind. France was third (+0:06.5), Austria fourth (+0:12.5) and the U.S. took fifth out of the 12 nations, 1:49.3 behind Norway.Strong winds on Saturday required that Friday’s provisional jump be used in Saturday’s competition. Overall winner Norway ranked third in jumping, while second place Germany was ranked first in jumping. The U.S. team, composed of Bryan Fletcher, Adam Loomis, Taylor Fletcher and Billy Demong, ranked eighth in jumping before kicking in the skiing to advance three spots.

First-leg Bryan Fletcher advanced the team one spot to seventh, second-leg Adam Loomis had the third-fastest course time, advancing the team to fifth place, Taylor Fletcher held fifth, posting the fastest ski time of the third leg, and anchor-leg Demong posted the seventh fastest course time to finish in fifth overall.

In spite of crashing twice on the race course, France’s Jason Lamy Chappuis took first in Sunday’s individual 10 k, besting Norway’s Mikko Kokslien by just 0.2 seconds, followed closely by Germany’s Fabian Riessle 0.7 seconds later.

Demong was the only American to jump into qualification Sunday. Demong’s jump earned him 48th place in competition, before speeding through the ski with the 16th fastest time of the day, earning him 32nd overall.

Complete results SaturdaySunday

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(USSA press release)

PARK CITY, UT (Dec. 13, 2014) – Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) just missed closing the gap to the podium, moving up from 20th in jumping to finish fifth in a FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup competition at Gorgoza Park outside Park City. Austria’s Tomaz Druml swept the weekend wins, this time in a narrow head-to-head battle with Italy’s Lukas Runggaldier. Jump leader Yusuke Minato hung on for third.

The pair of competitions were run by the Soldier Hollow organizing committee, with jumping at the Utah Olympic Park and cross country moved to the Gorgoza Park tubing hill.

The win for Druml came in a hard-fought battle, just a day after he led an Austrian podium sweep. Jump leader Minato set a strong early pace. Druml, who had been fifth in jumping and started 24 seconds back, combined forces with Runggaldier, who was eighth, another two seconds back. The two teamed up and moved quickly up to catch Minato, but could never shake him through to the finish. The lead went back and forth the entire way, with Druml putting in a strong finish push to take the victory and claim a spot on the Austrian team for next weekend’s planned World Cup in Ramsau, Austria.

Fletcher, who had a better jump than in the opening competition, still needed to make up a minute, 36 seconds. He set a torrid pace, but could not bridge the final gap from fifth up to the podium.

Fletcher and teammate Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), who was 17th, led the USA. Also finishing in the points were Michael Ward (Aspen, CO) was 28th and Colin Delaney (Lake Placid, NY) 29th, for his first Continental Cup points. Jasper Good (Steamboat Springs, CO) just missed the points in 32nd, Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) was 35th – both career bests – and Ben Berend (Steamboat Springs, CO) 40th.

Saturday’s results

 

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