December 22nd, 2014
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.1 comment
December 13th, 2014
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.
December 12th, 2014
PARK CITY, Utah (Dec. 12, 2014) — It was a grueling day at the Gorgoza Park tubing hill with tough and icy 10k cross country course. Defending FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup champion Tomaz Druml came from behind to lead an Austrian podium sweep in the season-opener in Park City. Druml came from a 40-second deficit to teammate Lukas Greiderer after Thursday’s jumping round to take the win by over 16 seconds. Marco Pichlmayer was third.
Olympian Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) led the USA, moving up from 26th after the jump to eighth. Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) was 13th.
Crews from the Olympic venue of Soldier Hollow moved the event to the Gorgoza Park location between Park City and Parley’s Summit, crafting a 1.5k loop that took athletes up the tubing hill three times on each of six laps. The course featured punshing uphills followed by screaming-fast downhills, making it a test of skill and fitness.
Greiderer held a very narrow lead after the jump over Germany’s Tobias Simon and Phillipp Blaurock. A fast-charging Druml had broken into the lead group by the second lap, with Simon and Blaurock slowly dropping back. Picklmayer, meanwhile, hooked up with Olympic champion Demong, who started just two seconds before him, and used Demong to pace through the midway mark of the race before pushing up to take third as Druml slow ran away with the lead.
Fletcher, meanwhile, posted the third fastest cross country leg of the day but his over two-minute gap was just too much to close. Fletcher and Demong had been hoping for a podium spot to seal a World Cup quota spot for the U.S. Ski Team.No comments
December 8th, 2014
Thirty-fourth one day, eighth the next.
Thirty-sixth in the jumping portion of Sunday’s World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway, Bryan Fletcher of the U.S. Nordic Combined Team flew on his cross-country skis in the following 10 k, posting the second-fastest time and ultimately finishing eighth, 6 seconds behind Norwegian winner Mikko Kokslien.
While it was the 28-year-old Fletcher’s best finish since last January, when he was fifth in a mini tour in Seefeld, Austria, Kokslien had a similar rise on Sunday — winning in 24:11.8 after ranking 38th in the jump. Germany’s Fabian Riessle went from 31st to second, finishing just 0.3 seconds behind Kokslien, and another 0.6 seconds behind, France’s Jason Lamy Chappuis was third (after dropping from second in the jump with the 21st-ranked ski time).
Also for the U.S., Adam Loomis tallied a career-best 35th (+2:24), with the 46th-ranked jump and 11th-fastest ski time.
“Today was a great race,” Fletcher said in a U.S. Ski & Snowboard Association (USSA) press release. “I was really happy with my skiing both physically and tactically. Getting in the top-10 was a big confidence booster and a huge relief heading into the week break. I am really looking forward to Ramsau’s events in two weeks to continue making progress.”
The Nordic Combined World Cup picks up again in two weeks in Ramsau, Austria, and according to USSA, many of the top Americans will return to the U.S. in that time for a pair of Continental Cup races Thursday through Saturday in Park City, Utah.
December 7th, 2014
Eric Frenzel won Saturday’s Nordic Combined World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway. The German clocked an overall time of 25:01.9 and was joined by his teammate Fabian Riessle on the podium in second, 2.7 seconds back. Jan Schmid of Norway was third, 12.3 seconds behind.
The top North American finish was was the only North American finisher, Bryan Fletcher, who placed 34th and 154.6 seconds from Frenzel.
— FIS Nordic Combined (@fisnc) December 6, 2014
December 1st, 2014
After jumping to a combined 18th, Bryan and Taylor Fletcher improved to 13th, 2:34 behind the winners, in Sunday’s 2 x 7.5 k team sprint at the Nordic Combined World Cup in Kuusamo, Finland.
Norway’s Håvard Klemetsen and Jørgen Graabak won the competition ahead of Germany (Bjoern Kircheisen/Eric Frenzel) in second (+24.9) and France (Jason Lamy Chappuis/Francois Braud) in third (+31.2). The second U.S. team, with Brett Denney and Adam Loomis, placed 19th (+5:12).
“Today was a tough day,” Taylor said in a U.S. Ski Team press release. “We both raced pretty decently but jumping was a challenge.”
“I didn’t nail my comp jump, which didn’t put us in the hunt,” Bryan said. “However we have shifted focus and we are preparing for the next comps in Lillehammer where I hope to improve and show some better jumping there. This weekend was certainly below average for me on the jump hill, and I know I am capable of higher quality moving forward.”
“We feel confident that it will be fighting next weekend and be able to get the season started on a stronger note,” Taylor added. “Kuusamo is just a very hard start to the season and a number of things can go wrong, at least we kept the tips up and for the most part head above water.”
November 30th, 2014
Germany’s Johannes Rydzek kicked off the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup season on Saturday with a first-place finish in Ruka (Kuusamo), Finland, with a combined time of 25:32.0. Austrian Bernhard Gruber (+1.0) and Czech Miroslav Dvorak (+6.1) were second and third, respectively.
Bryan Fletcher was the top American, finishing 17th (+1:10.0). In Friday’s provisional jump, Fletcher placed 32nd, a result that a USST press release called “disappointing”. After high winds canceled Saturday’s jump, the provisional jump was used for Saturday’s competition. Fletcher made up for his jump with a strong cross-country leg, posting the sixth-fastest time of the day, steaming the 10-kilometer course in 24:36.9 for 17th overall.
Fletcher was not the only one in his family that had redemption to find on the nordic course: his brother Taylor was in 59th after Friday’s jumping, but poured on the afterburners on the ski leg and managed to post the second-fastest time of the day, 24:11.9. He finished 36th overall, 2:53 behind first-place Rydzek.
Rounding out the American finishes was Adam Loomis in 44th (+3:39.2) and Brett Denney in 62nd (+7:28.6). No Canadians entered Saturday’s competition.
October 13th, 2014
March 16th, 2014
Japan’s veteran nordic-combined skier Akito Watabe won Saturday’s normal hill/10 k, the last individual World Cup competition of the season in Falun, Sweden.
Watabe, who started competing in the sport at age 12, had a breakthrough season in 2011 finishing second in the overall World Cup rankings. Watabe’s veteran status can be recognized by his seven Olympic starts (which include one Olympic medal). Saturday he won in 22:07.5.
Just over five seconds later was Norway’s Jørgen Graabak in second. And in third was Italy’s Alessandro Pittin, who finished 6.8 seconds after Watabe.
Taylor Fletcher led the Americans in 11th, finishing exactly one minute behind the winner. He improved from 24th in the jump with the 12th-fastest ski time. Graabak was the fastest on the day, moving up from 21st to second, and Watabe went from second in the jump to the victory with the fourth-fastest ski time.
Taylor Fletcher’s older brother, Bryan Fletcher, who was diagnosed with Leukemia at the age of three, was the only North American to compete for the day. Bryan Fletcher placed 28th (+1:46:5), improving from 44th in the jump.
The Steamboat, Colorado-based brothers “have a very unique relationship” according to Taylor Fletcher’s FIS profile. “We are both driven athletes and at times can be the best of friends but in competition we are individual athletes,” Fletcher writes. “We are a team and will remain that way for the rest of our lives. I have his back and he has mine.”
The final team event in Falun was canceled Sunday because of too much wind.
Saturday: Results1 comment
March 14th, 2014
Editor’s Note: The above video and blog post below by Fast Big Dog, a world traveller with the U.S. Ski Team, are satirical. Take them with a grain of humor.
Traveling on the World Cup can be described using a phrase I learned in mountaineering, “a few minutes of excitement surrounded by hours of boredom.” Since today is a day off for Nordic Combined and there will not be a lot of activity, to help maintain everyone’s sanity and to get us the hell out of the hotel, we, like cross-country the night before, descending upon the primary form of entertainment in Falun, Sweden, the local bowling alley. Unlike the more staid and reserved xc crowd, we felt compelled to put a wager on this event.
Setting the terms for the bet was a bit difficult, as world-renowned “Drink the last beer in the fridge,” Matt Whitcomb had cleaned out this fine establishment’s ONLY beer. That’s right, the bowling alley in Falun not only had one beer for sale two nights ago, but they also somehow didn’t find it important to replenish this extensive supply for the next night’s clientele. For the safety of all of bowling alley proprietors reading this in the city of Philadelphia, NEVER try this, as it will likely cost you your life. What I found to be particularly appalling however, was the selfishness of the entire cross country coaching staff. Upon confronting Whitcomb and Grover with this in the lobby of the hotel, they confessed that they had in fact taken the last and only beer, but attempted to wiggle their way out of this transgression by explaining that they had been forced to split it three ways.
There are several troubling elements to this sad tale, most particularly the fact that it doesn’t seem like it would have been too much to ask for Whitcomb, Grover and Cork to anticipate our arrival the next night and do as we would have done and only drink 3/7′s of what was apparently the last beer in Falun, therein leaving some for us on the following evening. Seriously guys, I thought you were better than that. After all, can you think of anything more refreshing than going out with your crew and each enjoying 1.71 ounces of beer? I certainly cannot. This just doesn’t seem like too much to ask.
So, greatly handicapped by the complete lack of alcohol to help guide these decisions, we settled upon what, given the circumstances, proved to be quite ingenious: the loser had to wear his underpants home on the outside of his jeans. This video says it all. Well, almost all. I won’t ruin the surprise, but let’s just say that the match was decided on the cumulative score of two games. The eventual loser (both in life and in this match), had a SEVENTY pin lead over two other athletes, only to fold like Superman on laundry day in the final game. Enjoy.
– Fast Big Dog
Trouble viewing video? Click here.