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Eric Frenzel of Germany jumped third and raced to first on Sunday for his third World Cup win this season, taking the 10 k individual Gundersen title by 5.3 seconds in 21:52.4. But he only started 8 seconds behind the leader.

Not taking anything away from Frenzel, the current World Cup overall leader, or Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen, who led the jump then finished second. But there were guys like Norwegian Mikko Kokslein that rose from the depths — 32nd in the jump to third overall — that really impressed in Sunday in Ramsau am Dachstein, Austria.

Kokslein posted the fastest 10 k in 20:45.0 to finish just 0.3 seconds out of second. Norway’s Magnus Krog placed fourth (+6.3) after starting 13th, Japan’s Akito Watabe¬†jumped to eighth and finish fifth (+7.1), and Germany’s Fabian Riessle started 29th to place sixth (+7.6) with the third-fastest time.

Then there was Bryan Fletcher, who teamed up with Todd Lodwick¬†on Saturday to bring the U.S. from 14th to a historic fourth in the team sprint. Fletcher’s jump ranked 30th out of 47 on Sunday, and the 27-year-old Colorado native skied up to seventh with the second-fastest time, 8.3 seconds behind Kokslein. After starting a minute and 9 seconds behind Klemetsen, Fletcher ended up just 9.9 seconds behind Frenzel as the winner and 4.3 seconds off the podium.

“Jumping was not my strongest today but I was in the hunt and thats the only thing that matters,” Fletcher wrote in an email. “I know I can improve and I am looking forward to more chances and opportunities to improve next week in [Schonach, Germany].
“I was surprised to see 2nd fastest time on the results sheet,” he added. “I was just focused on skiing my race and trying not to get caught up in any of the pack scrambles.”

In his first race of the weekend, Billy Demong posted the 16th-best jump and eighth-fastest time to tally ninth (+10.6), his best individual result of the season. He was four-tenths of a second behind Austria’s Lukas Klapfer in eighth.

“I’ve been really focused on jumping this summer and really laid a solid foundation and built into good form which unfortunately did not translate right away in competition,” Demong wrote in an email. “But I am starting to feel really good on the hill now and also feel room for improvement.

“I thought I could be maybe make the podium and I really felt that I skied a well paced and executed race but when 15 guys hit the final climb together I chose a bad line and got caught up at one pony coming to a stop,” he explained. “I’m happy though I had good energy throughout the race and pushed over the top of all the climbs really hard.”

Lodwick placed 33rd (+1:22.8) after starting 40th and skiing the 26th-fastest time.

“All in all I think that we are showing that we are coming into form and that 3 top tens and near podiums with pretty average performance gives us confidence of good things to come!” Demong wrote.

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