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Bryan Fletcher Rockets from 36th to 8th in Lillehammer; Loomis Gets Career Best 35th

Monday, 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.

Results

 

 

Frenzel Wins NC World Cup in Lillehammer

Sunday, 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.

Results

Fletcher Brothers Up from 18th to 13th in Ruka Team Sprint

Monday, 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.”

Results

 

Germany’s Rydzek Wins Ruka Opener, Fletcher Brothers Lead U.S.

Sunday, 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.

Results

Another Win for Watabe; Taylor Fletcher Just Outside Top 10 in Falun; Team Event Canceled

Sunday, 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: Results

Windy conditions in Falun, Sweden, canceled Sunday's Nordic Combined World Cup team event, the last of the season.

Windy conditions in Falun, Sweden, canceled Sunday’s Nordic Combined World Cup team event, the last of the season.

Rydzek Jumps to the Top of the Podium in Oslo World Cup; Fletcher Top U.S. Finisher

Tuesday, March 11th, 2014

Germany’s Johannes Rydzek demonstrated his all-around strength in Saturday’s World Cup in Oslo, Norway, combining the second-best jump of the day with the sixth-best ski to arrive at the top of the podium in a time of 24:50.6. Norway’s Magnus Moan started 36 seconds back following a 12th-ranked jump, then blazed the 10-kilometer course in a second-best 24:15.2, but lost a photo finish to Rydzek, finishing just 0.6 seconds back. France’s Francois Braud finished third (+4.5), and Finland’s Iikka Herola was fourth (+10.0).

Taylor Fletcher was the top American, finishing 22nd (+1:42.6), followed by Billy Demong in 26th (+1:46.5), Bryan Fletcher in 36th (+2:43.7) and Nick Hendrickson in 47th (+5:13.8).

Results

Demong 10th in Trondheim World Cup, Fletcher Fastest in XC

Friday, March 7th, 2014

It was a nice day in Trondheim on Thursday.

“Sunny and warm and spring-like on the beautiful fjord” is how U.S. Ski Team member Bill Demong described it. But beautiful doesn’t always make for good skiing, though Demong complimented the race organizers on spending months “farming” and salting a 2-kilometer loop to use for the World Cup 10 k Nordic Combined event, creating a hard and fast course.

The veteran Demong charged from behind to finish 10th after jumping into 20th, he put down the fourth fastest cross country time of the day to move up ten spots. Teammate Taylor Fletcher posted the fastest time of the day, skiing 24:20.4 on the 10 k course, to finish 23rd after a 47th ranked jump, while Johannes Rydzek of Germany took the victory ahead of Norwegians Joergen Graabak and Magnus Moan.

“The course itself was very challenging right on the limit for climb in a 10km race with some hard corners and tough transitions,” Demong wrote in an email. Demong was satisfied with his jump, feeling that he has jumped consistently all season.

Demong finished 19.1 seconds behind Rydzek and less than nine seconds out of the top-5.

Bryan Fletcher (USA) did not start.

The athletes head to another individual 10k Gundersen World Cup on the legendary Holmenkollen hill in Oslo on Saturday.

Results

 

Frenzel Completes Seefeld Triple Sweep; Bryan Fletcher Fifth

Sunday, January 19th, 2014

On the final day of competition at the first-ever Nordic Combined World Cup Triple in Seefeld, Austria, Eric Frenzel of Germany ended on the absolute highest note — winning his third-straight competition in as many days over the weekend for a €30,000-Euro ($40,600-dollar) grand prize.

Second after two competition jumps on Sunday, Frenzel started second in the cumulative pursuit-style 15-kilometer race later in the afternoon and quickly made up 10 seconds on Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen. Frenzel ended up winning in 38:26.2 minutes, 21.2 seconds ahead of  Klemetsen in second. Another Norwegian, Magnus Moan finished 29.1 back in third (+29.1).

Sunday’s runner-up Johannes Rydzek of Germany placed fourth  (+39.3) and American Bryan Fletcher improved from sixth on Friday and Saturday to fifth overall (+47.6).

Frenzel earned double World Cup points for the Triple crown, extending his lead in the World Cup standings over France’s Jason Lamy-Chappuis, who finished ninth on Sunday (+1:41.0).

Billy Demong of the U.S. placed 11th overall (+1:54.7), up from 12th on Saturday. After jumping to 22nd, he skied the third-fastest 15 k ((behind Norway’s Mikko Kokslien (seventh) and Italy’s Alessandro Pittin (10th), respectively)).

Results

Frenzel Stays Ahead in Seefeld Triple, Germany Goes 1-2 on Day 2

Saturday, January 18th, 2014

After launching himself to the lead at the first-ever Nordic Combined Triple at the World Cup in Seefeld, Austria, Germany’s Eric Frenzel followed up on Friday’s prologue victory with another win on Saturday, beating the field by 26.4 seconds in the 10-kilometer Gundersen in 24.49.9.

The overall World Cup leader, Frenzel jumped to first then skied the 19th fastest time to come out on top with one final day of competition remaining. Germany took the top two with Johannes Rydzek in second, and Norway’s Magnus Moan rose from fourth to third, 27.6 seconds behind Frenzel.

“It was anything but relaxing, but a really tough race,” Frenzel told Sportschau, according to a translation. “Magnus very quickly become very caught up, so I did not expect. I knew that I can still put it back.”

Rydzek passed Moan at the last second before the finish.

“I tried to save … and I am sure been a little a**hole but I was able to fully pass through to the finish line,” Rydzek told Sportschau.

Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen placed fourth (+48.1), after jumping to second and skiing the 32nd-ranked time of 50 in the 10 k. Jason Lamy Chappuis of France rose from 10th to fifth (+56.5), and American Bryan Fletcher repeated his sixth-place season best from Friday, finishing 57.4 back on Saturday.

Eighth on Friday, Billy Demong of the U.S. placed 12th, skiing up from 20th in the jump with the eighth-fastest 10 k time. Norway’s Joergen Graabak improved from 42nd to 20th with the fastest ski time, and another Norwegian Mikko Kokslien skied the second-fastest time to end up 11th.

The three-day competition wraps up Sunday with two jumps and a 15 k pursuit-style race, which is handicapped by the first two day’s cumulative time back.

Results

Day 1 video

Frenzel Wins Seefeld Triple Opener; Bryan Fletcher and Demong Nab Season Bests

Friday, January 17th, 2014

On the opening day of the inaugural Nordic Combined Triple — a series of three competitions in three days in Seefeld, Austria — the overall World Cup leader, Germany’s Eric Frenzel came out with a fire in Friday’s shorter-than-usual comp, winning the 5-kilometer prologue in 12:37.4.

Second-best in the jump after Norway’s Haavard Klemetsten, the 25-year-old Frenzel raced to the victory, beating another Norwegian, Magnus Moan, by 8.4 seconds. Moan skied up from 12th to second overall with the fastest 5 k time, and another German, Tino Edelmann, held his position in third (+9.4) after ranking third in the jump.

“It’s been a good day,” Frenzel told the Associated Press. “My jump went well and I skied my own race. I lost some time [to Moan] but I am really pleased with this victory.”

Frenzel extended his lead in the World Cup standings by 127 points over Jason Lamy Chappuis of France, who finished ninth on Friday.

Klemetsen ended up fourth (+11.7) after his cross-country leg ranked 48th of 68 competitors. Germany’s Johannes Rydzek was fifth (+12.0), and Bryan Fletcher led the Americans with a season-best sixth (+25.2). Fletcher jumped to 11th, then skied the 16th-fastest time.

Japan’s Akito Watabe jumped to 14th and skied the 14th-fastest time to place seventh (+26.0), and Billy Demong of the U.S. notched eighth (+27.0), his best individual result of the season, after jumping 17th and skiing the 12th-fastest time. He edged Chappuis by 0.7 seconds, and Ilkka Herola of Finland placed 10th (+30.9).

The Triple continues Saturday with an individual Gundersen competition, narrowed down to the top 50 from Friday, followed by two jumps and a 15 k on Sunday.

Taylor Fletcher (USA) placed 56th on Friday after jumping to 64th and posting the fifth-fastest prologue time. Another American Brett Denney was 63rd and Canadian Wesley Savill finished 68th.

Results

U.S. NoCo Seefeld prep video