A weekend of World Cup competition in Schonach, Germany, yielded good results for American Bryan Fletcher, especially on Sunday as he rose from 26th to ninth in the individual normal hill/10 k.
Saturday’s individual competition was dominated by Norwegians, with Magnus Moan taking first place in 24:58.5 and Haavard Klemetsen taking second 4.3 second later. On Sunday, France’s Jason Lamy Chappuis narrowly won in 23:47.1 and Germany’s Johannes Rydzek was just 0.7 seconds behind in second. Japan’s Akito Watabe showed remarkable consistency, getting third place both days, each time less than 1 second behind second place.
On Saturday, Fletcher was the lone American to qualify for the competition. He ranked 31st in the jump, then went on to ski up to 18th, 1:07.8 out of first, which he described as “bittersweet” after crashing in the race. On Sunday, he jumped to 26th in the provisional round which ended up being used to seed the cross-country race (after the competition jump was canceled).
“Todays conditions were tough,” Fletcher explained in an email. “Really strong winds, rain, warm weather all accounted for the cancellation of the jumping.”
With a “decent jump” putting him in fighting position, he was OK with the call.
“I was just excited to race,” he added. “I was really striving for a top 10 today.”
Fletcher started 58 seconds behind Klemetsen, who led after the jump, and went on to ski the third-fastest 10 k for ninth overall, 14.1 seconds behind Lamy Chappuis.
“I was in the hunt until the last hill and just couldn’t jockey for position in time,” Fletcher wrote. “I had some strategy going into the race to work with some other guys, however after the first lap the plan had not worked out. I was out alone and unfortunately had to spend a lot of energy on my own to catch the front group. But once I made contact I did my best to recover and try and gain spots on the hill, which was about the only place wide enough to ski two wide.”
Rounding out U.S. Nordic Combined’s results on Sunday were Taylor Fletcher in 31st place (+1:38.8), Todd Lodwick in 44th (+2:22), and Brett Denney in 51st (+2:59.7).
In Saturday’s race, Bryan wrote that he got tangled up with another skier and fell, yet skied the 11th-fastest time.
“I got up and still managed to get back to 14th place but was out printed by the group I was leading at the line landing me in 18th,” he wrote. “I also found out shortly after the race I had skied the entire fourth lap on a broken ski and I am sure that accounted for a bit of the fatigue. So despite the unfortunate luck I would say it went well for as bad as it went. … I am happy about this weekend, mostly happy to end on a top 10 just in time to head home for the holidays and Gold Cup on the 28th
Results: Saturday | Sunday