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Archive for December, 2017

Kokslien Takes Steamboat Continental Cup by Storm; Ben Loomis Repeats in 5th

Tuesday, December 19th, 2017

US Nordic Combined’s Ben Loomis (front) on his way to fifth place after jumping the furthest on Day 3 of the Continental Cup series in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. (Photo: USA Nordic/Facebook)

Last Friday through Sunday, Dec. 15-17, Steamboat Springs hosted three days of Nordic Combined Continental Cup individual competitions on the 75-meter “medium” hill and a 2.5-kilometer race course in Steamboat Springs, Colorado.

Day 1

Kicking the series off on Friday, Germany’s Tobias Simon jumped to first with 125.8 points in the initial medium hill/10 k Gundersen start competition. U.S. Nordic Combined’s Ben Loomis jumped to second with 124.3 points and started the 10 k race six seconds after Simon. Norway’s Sindre Ure Søtvik was just behind Loomis after the jump in third with 124.2 points and also started six seconds after Simon.

Also for USA Nordic, Jasper Good flew to 12th with 115.1 points and started the race 43 seconds back. Ben Berend jumped to 18th with 112.9 points and started 52 seconds back, Stephen Schuman jumped to 20th and started 58 seconds back, Grant Andrews was 27th off the hill to start 1:12 behind, Jared Shumate was 39th (+1:47), Tucker Hoefler 43rd (+2:27).

The podium after the 10 k race saw none of the top-three jumpers keep their places. Norway’s Mikko Kokslien, a longtime World Cup racer in his first Continental Cup competitions, rose from 14th to first place, crossing the line in 23:52.2 after starting with a 44-second deficit. Norway had two on the podium with Truls Sønstehagen Johansen racing from 17th to second (+0.6), and France’s Hugo Buffard placed third (+2.6) after jumping to 29th and starting 1:19 minutes back.

Loomis ultimately finished fifth (+14.5) for his best Continental Cup result since almost exactly a year ago, when he was fifth in Klingenthal, Germany. (The 19-year-old Wisconsin native’s career best on the circuit is fourth place, which he achieved in December 2015.) Good moved up to 10th (+38.4) and Schumann 16th (+1:15.3). Berend held his position in 18th (+1:19), and Shumate improved to 30th (+2:09.4), while Andrews slipped to 36th (+2:54.6), and Hoefler moved up one spot for 42nd (+4:28.6).

Canada’s Nathaniel Mah jumped to 35th and finished 40th overall (+4:00.8).

Results: Day 1 Jumping | Day 1 Overall

Day 2

In the second individual medium hill/10 k competition, Kokslien racked up his second-straight win again, jumping to eighth, starting 30 second back and finishing first in 23:49.5. Norway’s Harald Johnas Riiber led after the jump and ended up 11th overall (+1:04.2), after starting 9 seconds ahead of Japan’s Yuto Nakamura (who jumped to second but dropped to 29th in the ski race). France’s Buffard moved one step up on the podium in second place (+7.0) after jumping to 25th and starting the race 1:09 minutes back. Norway’s Johansen stepped down one spot to third (+0:15) after placing 20th in the jump and starting 56 seconds out of first.

For the U.S., Loomis repeated in fifth (+24.1) in a photo finish after jumping to third and starting the ski 12 seconds behind. Good skied to eighth (+38.8) after jumping to 13th and starting 46 seconds back. Schumann placed 15th (+1:33.7) also in a photo finish after jumping to 29th and beginning 1:14 minutes behind. Berend placed 24th (+1:51.4), up from 28th in the jump; Andrews was 30th (+2:07.7) after jumping to 27th and starting with Berend 1:12 minutes back. Shumate finished 33rd (+2:42.7) after jumping to 41st, Beckett Ledger finished 40th (+4:36.2), up two places from 42nd in the jump, and Aidan Ripp finished 42nd (+6:17.4) up from 46th in the jump.

Canada’s Mah jumped to 21st but lost positions in the 10 k for 35th overall (+2:56.3).

Results: Day 2 Jumping | Day 2 Overall

Day 3 

For the third and final day of Steamboat’s Continental Cup, the podium was a reordering of the Day 2 podium and a repeat of the podium from Day 1. So that meant Kokslein was once again on top.

The 32-year-old Norwegian swept the Steamboat series with his third-straight win, finishing first on Sunday in 24:17.7. He started 12th based on his jump and started the race 54 seconds behind Loomis, who jumped to first.

Loomis was first after the jumping portion of the day, scoring 123.8 points, just half a point ahead of Germany’s Simon with 123.5. Riiber jumped to third with 121.7 points.

In the 10 k, Loomis started just 1 second ahead of Simon, and Riiber headed out of the gate 8 seconds after the American. Loomis once again finished the race in fifth, 15.6 seconds behind Kokslien in first. Simon slipped to seventh (+20.4) and Riiber ended up 10th (+35.6).

Meanwhile, Johansen raced up from 19th after the jump (with a 1:04 starting deficit) to second place (+2.0) and Buffars claimed third (+4.2), posting the fastest 10 k time to rise from from 27th and a 1:26 starting deficit. Johansen’s time was second fastest and Kokslien’s was third fastest.

For the U.S., Good finished 12th (+54.6) after jumping to 24th and starting 1:09 back. Berend placed 18th (+1:25.8), down three spots after jumping to 13th, and Schumann finished 20th (+1:34.1) after jumping to 35th. Andrews, who’s based in Steamboat, finished 27th (+1:56.1), after jumping to 16th, Shumate was 31st (+2:11.1), up from 38th after the jump, Hoefler skied to 41st (+4:40.9), Steamboat’s Bennett Gamber placed 43rd (+5:26.1) after starting 40th based on his jump.

Mah jumped to 36th and finished 38th overall (+2:56.3).  

The Nordic Combined Continental Cup goes on break for the holidays before resuming in Klingenthal, Germany, Jan. 5-7.

Results: Day 3 Jumping | Day 3 Overall

— Jason Albert

Norway Tops Lillehammer Team Event and Individual 10 k

Monday, December 4th, 2017

The all-Norwegian podium from Sunday’s Nordic Combined World Cup individual 10 k Gundersen start in Lillehammer, Norway. Espen Andersen (1) placed first, Jan Schmid (11) was second and Jørgen Graabak (9) placed third. (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined)

This past Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3, Lillehammer, Norway hosted a two-day Nordic Combined World Cup.

Day 1

Saturday’s Nordic Combined World Cup 4 x 5-kilometer team event initially saw each nation’s skiers flying from the storied venue’s 98-meter hill.

Home-nation Norway set itself up for the ski portion of the event by collectively flying farthest. Team members Jan Schmid, Espen Andersen, Jarl Magnus Riiber, and Jørgen Graabak ranked first in the jumping portion with 524.2 points. Germany’s formidable foursome of Eric Frenzel, Johanne Rydzek, Vinzenz Geiger, and Fabian Rießle jumped to second place, amassing 498.5 points, and thus started the relay 46 seconds after Norway. Japan’s team of Taihei Kato, Go Yamamoto, Akito Watabe, and Yoshito Watabe was third after the jump with 486.7 points and started 50 seconds back.

The U.S. team, constituted of Bryan Fletcher, Jasper Good, Ben Berend, and Taylor Fletcher, jumped to 10th place with 396.5 points.

The 4 x 5 k ski portion saw some drama in the fight for the podium’s top spot. Norway’s 46-second gap on Germany at the start dwindled to 1.7 seconds by the finish, yet Norway pulled off the win in 50:46, while Japan slipped to fifth place (+29.1).

France’s team of Francois Braud, Maxime Laheurte, Antoine Gerard, and Jason Lamy Chappuis, which jumped to fourth and started the relay 1:12 minutes after Norway, placed third, 21.4 seconds behind the winners. Finland followed in fourth (+22.0), up from sixth after the jump.

The U.S. finished ninth overall (+3:25) out of 12 teams, after skiing in eighth for the first 10 k with first- and second-leg skiers Bryan Fletcher and Good.

Day 2

The second day of competition in Lillehammer, the individual large-hill/10 k Gundersen start, took place on the 140-meter hill. Norway took the top three spots after the jump. Norway’s Espen Andersen flew the furthest with 147.4 points, Espen Bjoernstad was second with 143 points, and Harald Johnas Riiber third with 140.7 points.

Norway held onto the top-three podium spots after the 10 k race, but some re-shuffling occurred in terms of the Norwegians’ standing in second and third place.

Andersen, who was the first skier off, and began with an 18-second lead on the second starter Bjoernstad, placed first overall in 26:25.1 minutes. Second overall was Norway’s Jan Schmid (+3.4), who jumped to 11th place and began the ski 50 seconds back. The third podium spot was earned by Norway’s Jørgen Graabak (+4.2). Graabak started 54 seconds behind the day’s winner Andersen.

Bjoernstad the day’s second best jumper faded to 11th, 2.8 seconds back. Harald Johnas Riiber, the third place jumper, fell back to 27th overall, 1:40.2 minutes behind.  

No Americans started Sunday’s event.

Results: Day 1 team event | Day 2 individual 10 k

— Jason Albert