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On the Road (and Bus and at the Hotel) with U.S. NoCo in Sapporo (Video)

Friday, January 23rd, 2015

On Thursday, Fast Big Dog filmed and edited the above video during a provisional-jump day in Sapporo, Japan. The Nordic Combined World Cup begins there on Friday and lasts through Saturday, with back-to-back individual competitions.

Trouble viewing video? Click here.

Bryan Fletcher Closes Seefeld Triple in Top 10, Demong 16th

Tuesday, January 20th, 2015
The Seefeld Triple ended Sunday, Jan. 18, with Germany’s Eric Frenzel completing the three-day sweep of the World Cup competitions, and American Bryan Fletcher landing in ninth overall.
On Sunday, Fletcher jumped to 14th on the normal hill, then skied up to ninth in the 15 k (with the 10th-fastest ski time), finishing 1:24.3 after Frenzel.
“Today was another solid day on the jump hill adding to my confidence there,” Fletcher said in a USSA press release. “The race was solid and I was really happy to finish in the top ten.”
It was his fourth top 10 of the season, and Fletcher explained he was excited to build on his results at next weekend’s competition in Sapporo, Japan. On Saturday, he placed 11th.
“It was a strong comeback after my 39th place finish the first day [Friday],” Fletcher said.
U.S. teammate Billy Demong placed 16th on Sunday, for 16th overall in the Triple, after jumping to 17th. His 15 k time ranked 13th and Demong finished 2:16.8 behind Frenzel.
Norway’s Håvard Klemetsen jumped to first and ultimately placed second, 9.9 seconds behind Frenzel, who won in 38:25.9. Japan’s Akito Watabe improved from fifth in the jump to third overall (+20.5) to round out the Seefeld Triple podium.
Results: Sunday

Fletcher Brothers Land in the Top 10; Three Different Americans in the Points in Chaux-Neuve

Monday, January 12th, 2015
Bryan Fletcher racing to eighth in the 10 k individual on Saturday at the World Cup in Chaux-Neuve, France. (Photo: Graham Longford)

Bryan Fletcher leads Germany’s Björn Kircheisen in Saturday’s 10 k individual at the World Cup in Chaux-Neuve, France. Fletcher went on to place eighth, and his brother Taylor Fletcher was fifth. (Photo: Graham Longford)

With the conditions too soggy for jumping, organizers switched Saturday’s Nordic Combined World Cup competition in Chaux-Neuve, France, from a team sprint to an individual race — using Friday’s provisional jump as the standard — which was fine by the Fletcher brothers.

Bryan Fletcher jumped to 25th and Taylor Fletcher positioned himself in 27th on Friday to put Bryan 1:42 and Taylor 2:04 minutes back for Saturday’s individual 10 k.

By the end of the day, both landed in the top 10 with Taylor skiing the fastest 10 k of anyone in the field and finishing fifth, 21.8 seconds behind Norwegian winner Magnus Moan. Bryan placed eighth, 14 seconds after his brother, for his third-individual top 10 of the season. It was Taylor’s first individual top 10 on the World Cup this winter.

“It’s a great feeling to produce this result and share the top 10 with my brother,” Taylor said in a USSA press release. “I thought a podium was a possibility as I was pulling in [Austria’s Bernhard] Gruber and [Norway’s Magnus] Krog but I ran out power with a half kilometer to go.”

While Krog took second and Gruber finished third, 12 seconds ahead of Taylor, Moan won for the second straight day in Chaux-Neuve (after another individual large-hill competition on Friday).

Adam Loomis (47) leads U.S. teammate Billy Demong (54) in Saturday's 10 k at the World Cup in Chaux-Neuve, France. Demong placed 32nd and Loomis finished 34th.   (Photo: Graham Longford)

Adam Loomis (47) leads U.S. teammate Billy Demong (54) in Saturday’s 10 k at the World Cup in Chaux-Neuve, France. Demong placed 32nd and Loomis finished 34th. (Photo: Graham Longford)

Also for the U.S., Billy Demong finished just outside the points in 32nd and Adam Loomis was 34th a day after scoring his first World Cup points in 21st. Also on Friday, Bryan Fletcher placed 20th and Taylor was 35th.

“Another great step in the right direction today,” U.S. Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett said. “Taylor and Bryan skied very well. Honestly we were hoping for all guys to be in the points today but Billy crashed in the third lap. Adam did a good job as well and almost skied into points too.”

Saturday’s results

Friday’s results

Klapfer Holds On for Nordic Combined World Cup Win in Schonach; Fletcher 9th

Sunday, January 4th, 2015

Austria’s Lukas Klapfer held on after a strong showing on the jump to win Sunday’s World Cup men’s nordic combined event in Schonach, Germany, while Bryan Fletcher led the U.S. in ninth.

Klapfer was third after the jump with 126.1 points, and had the 21st fastest cross-country time on the 10 k course to finish in 24:36.2. Japan’s Akito Watabe was second (+1.0), finishing seventh after the jump (124.4 points) and posting the 18th fastest ski time. Jan Schmid of Norway finished third (+2.3), while Austria’s Bernhard Gruber was fourth (+3.4). Joergen Graabak finished with the eighth-fastest ski to round out the top five (+6.7).

The best jump of the day went to Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen, who earned 129.8 points – he almost held on for the win, but ended up seventh overall (+10.6). Alessandro Pittin of Italy had the fastest cross-country time, in 23:18.0, and finished sixth overall (+8.8) after a 36th place jump.

Bryan Fletcher led the Americans after posting the third-fastest ski (23:27.7) and 33rd best jump (108.5), ending up ninth overall (14.5), while Taylor Fletcher was 24th overall (+44.9) and managed the second-fastest ski of the day (23:25.1) after a 49th place jump (100.2).

“The comp today was a hard one,” Bryan Fletcher said in a USSA press release. “The rains yesterday made the conditions today on the cross country course very difficult. It was very soft in places, hard in others and tons of death cookie ice balls on some of the hills made the cross country portion a leg burner. After the jumping I was in a good spot with strong guys around me. I knew that there was potential to move up a lot in the cross country. I felt like I skied a great race, posting the third fastest time and was very happy to add another top ten to my results sheet this season.”

Ben Berend finished his first individual World Cup start in 46th overall (+3:52.2). The 19-year-old was 28th after the jump (110.7) before posting the 44th fastest ski (27:14.4).

“Ben Berend did a great job especially on the hill where we knew he should be competitive,” said U.S. Head Coach Dave Jarrett in a USSA press release. “He is still a junior so his focus is on Almaty (Junior Worlds).  Should be a confidence booster for Ben for the Contnental Cup event in Hoydalsmo (Norway) next weekend.”

Results

Germany Wins Team Event on Home Turf, U.S. 7th as Berend Debuts

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015
Team Germany used the best jumping round of the day to cruise to a three-second win in the four-man team event as the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup continued after a holiday break in Schonach, Germany.

The German team of Eric Frenzel, Tino Edelmann, Bjorn Kircheisen, and Johannes Rydzek turned in consistent jumping — not a single man went under 100 meters — and then never relinquished the lead over the course of the four 5 k relay legs. Norway came close, moving from fourth after jumping up to second place, just 3.9 seconds back, at the finish. That was thanks to Mikko Kokslien and Joergen Graabak, who turned in the fastest times of the third and fourth legs, respectively. But it wasn’t enough to catch Germany.

France finished third, 12 seconds behind the Germans.

The United States was ranked seventh after jumping and finished seventh at the end of the day as well. Bryan Fletcher started things off in the relay, skiing the second-fastest first-leg time, but the team still dropped to eighth place (the fastest opening leg was skied by Armin Bauer of Italy, whose team had been in eighth after jumping). Next came Ben Berend, making his World Cup debut, then Adam Loomis. It was anchor skier Taylor Fletcher who moved the team back into seventh, dropping the Czech Republic team on his way.

“Couldn’t ask for a better team,” Berend tweeted after the competition. “We fought through a downpour of rain today but still managed to have a lot of fun.”

Racing continues in Schonach on Sunday with a normal-hill competition.

Final results

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.