December 8th, 2013
Second heading into the Sunday’s 10-kilometer race on the final day of the World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway, Germany’s Eric Frenzel took control and won in 29:27.7, beating his competition by nearly a minute on a snowy afternoon.
Norway’s Magnus Krog placed second, 52 seconds back, and Akito Watabe reached the podium for the second-straight day in third (+52.6).
“It was a race how you want it; I am pleased that I have the yellow jersey again,” Frenzel told Sueddeutsche.de, according to a translation. ”I had to give it a day, but [I] fought back.”
Coming off his first World Cup win this season at last weekend’s opener in Kuusamo, Finland, Frenzel placed 10th in Lillehammer on Saturday. Sunday’s win, the 11th of his career, put him back on top of the overall World Cup rankings.
Skiing the fifth-fastest 10 k behind Frenzel, whose time ranked fourth, Bryan Fletcher led the U.S. in 10th — an improvement from finishing 16th on Saturday. He finished 1:44.3 minutes behind Frenzel after starting 26th.
Fletcher’s teammate Todd Lodwick was 7.9 seconds behind in 11th after posting the 16th-best jump and skiing the 13th-fastest time. For Lodwick, it was his best World Cup result in nearly three years.
Billy Demong suffered his second disqualification in two weekends of racing. “… forgot my bib. 2x too many for one career. I think
@fisnc should keep a couple spares at the top and just fine instead,” Demong tweeted.
December 7th, 2013
Second in the jump at Saturday’s World Cup competition in Lillehammer, Norway, Jason Lamy Chappuis of France kept Japan’s Akito Watabe at bay in the 10 k, beating him by 13.5 seconds for his first win of the season in 26:45.2. Lamy Chappuis started the race behind teammate Francois Braud, first in the jump and ultimately sixth.
“I started with a really good jump; it’s always easier to start in front and to give your own pace,” Lamy Chappuis told Eurosport. “We had a good pace with my teammate Francois Braud. It was really nice to be together at the front of the race. … I was a little bit afraid of the Norwegians at the end, but I stayed in front which was great. Akito started really fast, too.”
Watabe had the third-best jump and finished second. Mikko Kokslien of Norway placed third (+18.3) with the fastest 10 k time, coming back from 28th in the jump.
After failing to qualify for the individual competition last weekend in Kuusamo, Finland, the U.S. men’s team had two in the top 20. Bryan Fletcher placed 16th (36th in the jump, 11th in cross-country), and Billy Demong finished 19th (45th in the jump, ninth-fastest time).
In an email, Fletcher described challenging jumping conditions with high and variable winds, especially earlier in the round, after the provisional round was canceled.
“We were very lucky to be able to get a comp off and have a race,” he added. “The conditions on the XC course are awesome. I really like the new course it’s very challenging and has a fun rhythm to it.”
Saturday’s competition marked Fletcher’s second time jumping in new boots, so he focused on having “a good feeling and not trying to hard.”
His jump put him in a position where he needed to conserve initially in the 10 k to have some kick at the end. ”However once I got started the plan went out the window and I just hammered,” Fletcher wrote. “I payed for it at the end but over all I was very happy with my result!”
Demong wrote in an email that he had some good jumps in training throughout the week, giving him confidence for Saturday’s competition.
“I was able to go for it and I think today was something to build on!” he wrote, referring to his “average jump and average race.”
“I’m excited going forward,” Demong added.
Taylor Fletcher placed 22nd (53rd in the jump, eighth in cross-country), and Todd Lodwick was 34th (37th jump, 36th cross-country).
“Last weekend we had a tough go of a lot of things and we had some kinks to work out,” Bryan Fletcher explained. “We really used our days of training to work those kinks out and now I feel we are back on track. We are now just excited for more opportunities to keep climbing the results ladder.”
“Kuusamo has been tough for a lot of people but rarely a season definer,” Demong wrote. “We had a great week of training on the hills here and got our confidence back.”No comments
December 2nd, 2013
After the U.S. team came back from jumping to 12th in Sunday’s team event and placing seventh overall (with Taylor Fletcher posting the fastest anchor leg), Billy Demong explained that their showing at the first World Cup of the season in Kuusamo, Finland, didn’t go exactly as planned. None of the U.S. team jumped well enough to make it into Saturday’s individual competition.
“This weekend was a bit lackluster for sure,” Demong wrote in an email. “Jumping seemed to elude us in Kuusamo, which honestly has happened more often than not but does not seem to have much bearing on the rest of the season. The team has done good training and we are certainly looking forward to Lillehammer.”
Demong was disqualified for an equipment violation in Saturday’s provisional round, which he explained had to do with the girth of his jumping suit — in this case, his thigh.
“It seems that between the time we made (yes we make our own suits) the suit and the first comp I lost about 2cm of girth around my upper thigh and so the suit was deemed too big by the FIS,” Demong wrote. “We travel with a sewing machine for such reasons and so I was able to fix it and get it ready for Sundays team competition”No comments
December 2nd, 2013
Norway’s success in Kuusamo was furthered with a victory in the Nordic Combined relay. After an excellent morning of ski jumping, the team skated well in the afternoon, and won with a comfortable margin of 30 seconds over their closest rival Germany.
Magnus Krog led the Norwegians in jumping, flying 145 meters, a new personal best. His teammates, Grabbak, Kokslien, and Klemetsen, had big jumps as well, landing only 15 to 17 meters behind Krog’s jump, the biggest of the day.
Only Japan’s Yoshito Watabe could come close to matching Krog’s performance, landing just a half meter behind the Norwegians benchmark jump.
The Russian team continued their run of results in Kuusamo, with excellent jumping by all teammates to finishing third behind Norway and Japan in the jumping round.
The American’s did not have a good day on the jump, finishing in 12th, with a start time on the skiing leg 4:22 behind Norway.
Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen led the 5k cross country leg of the relay. He was chased 28 seconds later by Japan’s Taihei Kato, followed 20 seconds later by Russian Evgeniy Klimov.
Norway’s biggest threat to their race however came in the form of Germany’s first leg skier Bjoern Kircheisen, who started 48 seconds after Klemetsen and skied the fastest 5k leg of the day in 12:15.
Kircheisen nearly surpassed Klemetsen, and the two handed off nearly simultaneously. Manuel Faisst (GER) battled it out with Krog (NOR) to see who would take the lead, but late in race Krog was able to ski away from a tired Faisst to give his teammate Kosklien a 10 second advantage over Germany at the handoff. Johannes Rydzek (GER) could not match Kosklien over the course and lost yet another 10 seconds to Norway.
Joergen Graaback (NOR), skiing the anchor leg, had ample time at the end of his race to grab a Norwegian flag and savor the victory as he skied into the stadium.
Mikko Kosklien told FIS after his important third leg, “It was a really hard 5k, a tough one, so I was happy that Krog could give me the gap and then I started to try and increase the gap a little bit. For sure it was a nice feeling to see Joergen come through the finish.”
The Nordic Combined World Cup continues next weekend in Lillehammer.
– Pasha Kahn
Also: (from U.S. Ski Team press release)
U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team’s Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) posted the fastest time in his cross country anchor leg and moved up the pack to give the USA seventh in the 4x5k team event at the nordic combined World Cup season opener.
The Team started the relay in 12th after the team HS142 jumping portion earlier on Sunday.
The Norwegian team jumped into first place and held its lead throughout the relay.
The U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team, Taylor Fletcher, Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO), Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), is starting the season after winning the first ever American medal in the team event at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy, last February.
The four U.S. athletes failed to qualify in the top 50 for the individual event on Saturday and did not compete. (Note: Demong was disqualified for equipment in the provisional round: ICR 18.104.22.168. German Erik Frenzel won the LH HS142/10 k competition by jumping to fourth and posting the ninth-fastest race time. He beat Norwegians Grabaak and Krog in second and third, by 3.5 and 6.9 seconds, respectively.)
Next the Team travels to Lillehammer, Norway for the nordic combined FIS World Cup on Dec. 7-8.No comments
April 18th, 2013
A longtime staple and accomplished veteran on the U.S. Nordic Combined Team, Johnny Spillane announced Thursday that he was retiring from the sport. In a letter to Steamboat Today, Spillane, of Steamboat Springs, Colo., cited family as his main reason for leaving the national team and life as a professional skier before the 2014 Olympics.
“My desire to be at home with my family outweighs my desire to pursue another Olympic medal,” he wrote. “In addition, I’m at a point in my personal life where I cannot afford to take the risk involved with professional athletics. I have a family for which I provide, and an injury or poor season can make it incredibly difficult to do so. While I will miss the sport, I will not miss the travel and the weeks away from home. It is difficult to watch your daughters grow up on Skype.”
Spillane, 32, racked up three Olympic silvers at the 2010 Vancouver Games and an individual gold at the 2003 World Championships.
“I am very proud of what our team accomplished while I was a member,” Spillane continued. “When I started, we had no Olympic or World Championship medals. Now the team boasts of three World Champions [Spillane, Billy Demong and Todd Lodwick], two Olympic individual medalists [Spillane and Demong] and one Olympic champion [Demong].”
He also thanked the Steamboat community for its support and intends to remain settled there.
March 16th, 2013
Heading into the finish of Saturday’s 15 k at the individual World Cup in Oslo, Norway, one man stood between Germany’s Eric Frenzel and his second-straight victory of the weekend: Jason Lamy Chappuis.
After starting eighth, 1:16 back from Japanese leader Taihei Kato, who posted the best jump on the 134-meter large hill, Lamy Chappuis had come too far to settle for second. He ended up edging Frenzel by 0.4 seconds for the win, finishing in 42:06.5 with the sixth-fastest ski time.
Frenzel started third, 34 seconds back from Kato and 5 seconds behind Kato’s teammate Yoshito Watabe. The German ended up second, and Wilhelm Denifl of Austria was third, 1.5 seconds behind Lamy Chappuis.
Japan’s Akito Watabe was fourth (+5.1) and Kato finished fifth (+14.0).
For the second-consecutive race, American Taylor Fletcher posted the fastest ski time (39:52.9). Fletcher started 23rd and rose to 11th (+1:26.4). His older brother, Bryan Fletcher was 20th (+2:38.1) after starting 21st and skiing the 11th fastest time.
March 15th, 2013
Eric Frenzel (GER) took his seventh victory of the season on Friday in Oslo, Norway, for the opening competition of the weekend at the fabled Holmenkollen venue. He bested Japan’s Akito Watabe by 5.0 seconds after the 10 k Gundersen competition with a winning time of 26:11.5. Yoshito Watabe (JPN) was 22.2 seconds behind in third.
Taylor Fletcher led the Americans with a fifth-place finish at the end of the day after beginning the cross-country race in 23rd after the jump competition. He climbed back from a 1:31 deficit to finish 25.0 seconds down to Frenzel and posted the top course time by 17 seconds in the process. Bryan Fletcher was 11th (+59.6), Billy Demong finished 15th (+1:09.2) and Todd Lodwick was 37th (+3:08.0).No comments
March 9th, 2013
Johannes Rydzek (GER) and Eric Frenzel (GER) claimed the Team Sprint HS 130/2×7.5km victory today in Lahti, Finland.
The German duo began the sprint course in first position after a commanding jumping performance. Their winning time was 24:53.
France , consisting of Jason Lamy Chappuis and François Braud, held second position across the finish but were later disqualified because of an illegal passing violation.
This left the second podium spot to Germany’s second team, Tino Edelmann and Fabian Riessle), whom finished in a time of 25:15.7.
Norway, represented by Mikko Kokslien and Håvard Klemetsen, had been taken out of the medal hunt due to a piece of misfortune. On the last lap before the finish Kokslien broke a pole and the battle for the podium spot was relinquished to the German second team. After the disqualification of the French, the Norwegians were promoted to 3rd place, finishing in a time of 25:17.0
Behind the front runners a tight battle was waged for places between Austria I, Japan I, and Austria II, whom finished in 4th, 5th, and 6th places respectively. The result was disappointing for both Japan I and Austria II, whom couldn’t capitalize on promising 2nd and 3rd starting positions.
The United States, represented by Bryan and Taylor Fletcher, skied to a 7th place finish, neither gaining or losing a place from their 8th place starting position (Given the disqualification of France). They finished in a time of 25:48.6, 55.6 seconds out of the win.No comments
March 8th, 2013
Less than a week after the Nordic World Ski Championships ended in Italy, the Nordic Combined World Cup circuit resumed on Friday with a individual large hill/10 k in Lahti, Finland. German World Champion Eric Frenzel posted another dominating performance, placing fourth in the jump and rising to first overall. He finished the 10 k Gundersen in 24:48.2, 10.1 seconds ahead of Japanese runner-up Akito Watabe.
Japan had a strong day with three skiers in the top four. Taihei Kato was third (+12.9) after ranking second in the jump (behind Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen) and Yoshito Watabe placed fourth (+16.6) with the third-best jump.
Johannes Rydzek of Germany took fifth (+26.3) and Klemetsen was sixth (+29.6). Bryan Fletcher led the U.S. in seventh (+34.4) after notching seventh in the jumping portion. Taylor Fletcher rose from 34th to 19th with the second-fastest ski time behind Norwegian Jørgen Graabak, who ended up 17th.
The Lahti World Cup continues Saturday with the large hill/team sprint.
March 2nd, 2013
VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — With Austria’s Bernhard Gruber hot on his tail, Jason Lamy Chappuis of France broke away on the final leg of Saturdays 2 x 7.5 k team sprint to win by 16.6 seconds and bring home gold, his third in four competitions at the 2013 Nordic Combined World Ski Championships. After placing third in Thursday’s individual large hill/10 k, the medal was Lamy Chappuis’ fourth of the week.
The Frenchman teamed up with Sebastien LaCroix for the victory, and Austria took second with Wilhelm Denifl. The leader after jumping on the 134-meter hill in Predazzo, Germany’s Tino Edelmann and Eric Frenzel started first with a 12-second head start on Japan’s Taihei Kato and Akito Watabe. The Germans settled for bronze, 43.9 seconds back, after Edelmann crashed just after the second to last exchange.
Japan took fourth (+44.5), Norway (Magnus Moan/Mikko Kokslein) placed fifth (+1:03.3), and the U.S. (Taylor Fletcher/Billy Demong) was sixth (+1:24.6) after starting 1:40 back in 10th. The Americans skied the second-fastest race after France.
“I think we knew before the race that we didn’t jump as well as we’d hoped,” Demong told reporters. “Two minutes, it’s possible, but it’s not really up to us. … I think we had a solid race, but not enough to come back from two minutes. It’s just clear, we just need to be better on the ski jump, and luckily that’s probably easier than to be faster at cross-country skiing.”