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Even with the unsettled winds in Lillehammer, Norway, on Sunday, the Nordic Combined World Cup sent skiers off the normal hill for its second event of the season.

Norway’s Magnus Krog won the individual normal-hill/10 k competition in 25:51.8. Krog jumped to 15th and skied the sixth-fastest time of the day for his second career World Cup win. Saturday’s winner, Austrian Fabian Rießle, took second (+1.0), while Austrian Lukas Klapfer placed third (+ 1.9) .

For the U.S. Nordic Combined Team, there were some high and low points. All four U.S. athletes struggled on the jumping hill. Taylor Fletcher posted a team best 42nd and ended up 13th, Bryan Fletcher jumped to 45th and placed 30th, Adam Loomis jumped to 55th and finished 43rd, Jasper Good jumped to 48th and placed 49th.

“It was tricky jumping this morning for sure,” U.S. head coach Dave Jarrett said in a USSA press release. “Bryan was unlucky as the conditions when he was set to go were too good and they took him off the bar twice. When he finally got the green the conditions were significantly worse. He had a pretty good jump nonetheless, but the speed was set for headwind … Taylor on the other hand, should have done more with his jump. He had a great race though and was close to the front but ran out of real estate.”

Yet, the team leaves Lillehammer with a bit of skiing confidence. Although Taylor Fletcher didn’t maximize his jumping opportunity, he skied the fastest 10 k and placed 13th overall.

“I was a lot closer timewise to the front compared to [Saturday], but also I skied a much more paced race!” Fletcher said in the press release. “I was really happy to have the fastest time by a fair amount but I am hungry for way more! I know my good jumps are good enough to put me in the fight for the win!”

Brian Fletcher also skied a top fifteen time, setting the 13th fastest ski time on the day, 33 seconds behind Krog.

Behind Fletcher (+33.0), Bryan finished 1:38.5 back in 30th, Loomis was 3:04.4 off the pace, followed Good (+3:43.8).

The Nordic Combined World Cup tour now takes a two week break with the next competition beginning Dec. 19th, in Ramsau, Austria.

Results

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Today’s large-hill Gundersen 10-kilometer competition in Lillehammer, Norway, was the first Nordic Combined World Cup event of the season. Last weekend’s World Cup in Kuusamo, Finland — what would have been the season-opening competitions — were canceled due to high winds.

Saturday’s scheduled competition was also affected by wind: the morning’s team event was scratched due to high winds and replaced with an individual competition.

Unable to jump on Saturday, race officials made a quick decision to move forward with the competition. They decided to use results from Friday’s provisional jump to determine Saturday’s start order for the 10 k cross-country race.

Winning his first ever Nordic Combined World Cup race was Germany’s Fabian Rießle, a 2014 Olympic individual bronze medalist, who won Saturday’s competition in 25:22.4. The podium was rounded out by second-place finisher, Japan’s Akito Watabe (+12.5), followed by Ilkka Herola of Finland in third (+15.2).

In the post-race press conference, Rießle was asked how he felt after his first victory. “It feels totally, I don’t know, so cool,” he said.

The top American, Bryan Fletcher placed 11th (+1:11.2 ) after jumping to 15th in the provisional round and starting in that position. He started 47 seconds back from Poland’s Szczepan Kupczak, the top jumper from the practice round.

“When today’s jump was cancelled, I was excited,” Fletcher wrote in an email. “I knew I was in a good position and had an opportunity for a strong result. Honestly I was thinking I could do a little better than 11th, but tough snow conditions and strong skiers around me, made it difficult to move up any further.”

Typically strong on the hill, Fletcher focused on further improving his jumping this summer in order to position himself near the front of the cross-country race.

“I am happy to see some improvement in my jumping thus far,” he wrote. “… I hope to continue this progress over the season. So needless to say I won’t be hanging my hat on that performance alone.”

In a USSA press release, U.S. head coach Dave Jarrett called it a “pretty good start” for the team.

“We always have high hopes for the cross country race. It was a good race, but today the front was so fast that it was hard for Bryan’s group to close,” he said. “We didn’t have the fastest cross country times today but we know we can ski with anyone. Both Bryan and Taylor have been jumping pretty well and we are psyched for another chance tomorrow.”

Also for the U.S., Taylor Fletcher placed 26th (+2:11.5) and skied the 12th fastest cross-country time, Adam Loomis placed 37th (+3:15.6), and Jasper Good was 51st (+6:50) in his World Cup debut.

Another individual event will be held Sunday, with jumping on the normal hill due to predicted high winds, followed by a 10 k race.

“Tomorrow will be another opportunity,” Fletcher wrote. “I am excited to have another chance to improve upon today, so we will see how it goes.”

— Jason Albert and Alex Kochon contributed reporting

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For the first time in the history of the Nordic Combined World Cup in Kuusamo, Finland, the season-opening competitions had to be canceled because of wind both Saturday and Sunday.

“The wind conditions this weekend have been too strong and in the line of safety for our athletes, we have had no chance to complete any jumps since Friday,” FIS race director Lasse Ottesen said in a press release. “So the World Cup in Lillehammer, Norway, next weekend will be our opening event of the winter 2015/16 and we are very much looking forward to finally get underway.”

What did coaches and athletes do with all that downtime? FIS compiled an assortment of social-media posts.

On Sunday, several Americans, Norwegians, Slovenians and Swiss nordic-combined skiers held a friendly race on the Ruka track. Norway’s Mikko Kokslien “won”, Magnus Krog of Norway was second and American Bryan Fletcher third.

To see the video, click here.

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Americans Taylor and Bryan Fletcher teamed up for an 11th-place showing in the two-man team sprint on Saturday, before taking individual top-20’s in the 10 k competition at the summer Grand Prix in Oberwiesenthal, Germany.

“For the race I have to be happy,” Taylor Fletcher said of Saturday’s team sprint, in a U.S. Ski Team press release. “It was our first race of the year and it’s always hard to know where you stand against the European teams as we have no contact at all until these comps.”

Austria’s Harald Lemmerer and Bernhard Gruber won the team competition by 13.2 seconds over countrymen David Pommer and Mario Seidl.

The Fletchers had been ranked 13th after jumping, but moved up in the rollerski portion through the Oberwiesenthal streets. The second U.S. team of Ben Berend and Jasper Good finished 22nd.

On Sunday, Gruber was disqualified for an early start in the rollerski pursuit, and instead of the Austrians it was Germans who dominated. Eric Frenzel had the best jump and coasted to an 11.3-second win over Johannes Rydzek, with Fabian Riessle completing a podium sweep for the home team.

Taylor Fletcher skied from 29th up to 12th after the jump, thanks to the second-fastest ski time, and Bryan Fletcher moved from 27th to 19th.

“The race was in the heart of the city, which is always very fun with a good amount of people that come to watch,” Taylor Fletcher said in the press release. “I started pretty close to how I wanted and not like I always do too which is too hard at the beginning. I think my middle lap may have been pretty hard which killed me for the last lap but I went hard till 150 meters when all I could think about was a cold shower and getting out of the 33C [91 F] heat.”

Adam Loomis placed 28th and Michael Ward 29th to round out the U.S. scoring. Ward had the fourth-fastest ski time of the day, moving up from 46th after the jump.

Extremely happy with my performance today at my first Summer Grand Prix,” he wrote on Instagram. “It was a personal best and I hope there is more to come!”

Results: Saturday / Sunday

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Bryan Fletcher tucks around a high-speed corner at Soldier Hollow en route to a repeat national title at the U.S. Nordic Combined Championships in Midway, Utah. (USSA/Tom Kelly)

Bryan Fletcher tucks around a high-speed corner at Soldier Hollow en route to a repeat national title at the U.S. Nordic Combined Championships in Midway, Utah. (Photo: USSA/Tom Kelly)

Bryan Fletcher notched his second-straight national title on Saturday at the U.S. Nordic Combined Championships at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah.

After posting the farthest jump on the 134-meter large hill at Utah Olympic Park, Fletcher, 29, started first (with a 26-second head start) in the cross-country rollerski race and held off U.S. Nordic Combined teammate Adam Loomis, 23, for the win. As he crossed the finish line five seconds ahead of Loomis, Fletcher made a point for a mini celebration.

The podium at the 2015 U.S. Nordic Combined Championships, which were held in Park City and Midway, Utah: with winner Bryan Fletcher (c), second-place finisher Adam Loomis (l) and Taylor Fletcher in third. (Photo: Dave Jarrett/Twitter)

The podium at the 2015 U.S. Nordic Combined Championships, which were held in Park City and Midway, Utah: with winner Bryan Fletcher (c), second-place finisher Adam Loomis (l) and Taylor Fletcher in third. (Photo: Dave Jarrett/Twitter)

“It was a little close there at the end,” Fletcher told Steamboat Today. “Coming up to the stadium it was a little bit of a sprint to make sure I had a comfortable distance, but then it was getting in a good celebration and pump for the crowd and for me to excitedly celebrate winning the race.”

Fletcher remains the only active U.S. team member to hold a national title. He won last year’s championships in Lake Placid, N.Y.  His younger brother, Taylor, placed third on Saturday, finishing 47 seconds after Bryan after starting 1 minute and 4 seconds behind.

“Going into the race I knew I could come home with the victory if I paced it right,” Fletcher said. “I was able to hold off Adam and Taylor who were charging and coming up behind me fast. I knew it was coming in hot. Going into the stadium on the last lap, I knew once I made it over the top of the hill that I had it in the bag.”

U.S. Nordic Combined members Michael Ward, Jasper Good and Ben Berend placed fourth through sixth, respectively. Fifteen men completed the race.

 

Complete results

 

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Japan’s Akito Watabe took first in the final World Cup of the season, a 15-kilometer race in Oslo, Norway. With this finish he secured second-place in the overall World Cup standings, behind overall winner Eric Frenzel of Germany, who finished 4th on Saturday (+22.6).

Germany’s Johannes Rydzek took second on Saturday, finishing nine seconds behind Watabe to finish third in the overall standings. Alessandro Pittin, of Italy, took the final spot on the podium (+18.6) after a ferocious ski, making up three minutes over the two 7.5 k laps and posting the fastest time of the day. Pittin finished 11th overall for the season.

Taylor Fletcher was the top American, finishing 21st on Saturday. Fletcher’s strong ski performance, the fourth-fastest of the day, could not make up for a 4:02 start gap after a 27th-ranked jump, and he finished 2:35 behind Watabe. Fletcher finished 27th in the overall standings, the second-ranked American, behind his brother Bryan Fletcher. Bryan Fletcher was the only other American to compete on Saturday, finishing 29th (+5:23.7). His day was sweetened, however, by an overall season finish of 15th, the top result for the U.S.

Results

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Norway’s Magnus Moan overcame a 30-second starting deficit to take the lead two kilometers into Thursday’s 10-kilometer individual race and win his 24th career World Cup in Trondheim, Norway.

Moan jumped to 10th on the large hill and posted the fourth-fastest ski time en route to the win in 24:22.9. He bested Germany’s Fabian Riessle, who started eighth and finished second, by 13.3 seconds and Italy’s Alessandro Pittin, who jumped to 21st and skied the third-fastest 10 k for third, by 18.2 seconds.

With the Overall World Cup title under wraps, Eric Frenzel of Germany led after the jump and ended up 10th (+42.9).

Taylor Fletcher of the U.S. skied up from 44th and 2:04 back to 14th (+1:14.5) with the fastest ski time.

“I was so close to having excellent day,” Fletcher tweeted on Thursday. “I was a little to [sic] aggressive after the takeoff that killed the jump, but I had a hell of a xc race!”

His brother Bryan Fletcher jumped to 41st and placed 25th (+1:37.9) with the seventh-fastest ski time. The third American, Adam Loomis finished 31st (+2:04) after ranking 45th in the jump and 12th in the 10 k.

The Nordic Combined World Cup concludes Saturday with a final individual competition in Oslo, Norway.

Results

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U.S. Nordic Combined has two more World Cup competitions on the docket, and Fast Big Dog caught up with the team on Tuesday during a training day in Trondheim, Norway.

The two remaining individual competitions start Thursday with the large hill/10 k in Trondheim, followed by Saturday’s large hill/15 k in Oslo, Norway.

Schedule

Trouble viewing video above? Click here.

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FALUN, Sweden — Francois Braud and Jason Lamy Chappuis of France catapulted themselves to gold in the 2 x 7.5-kilometer team sprint on Saturday, the last day of nordic combined at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.

With that, the 28-year-old Jason Lamy Chappuis, who defended his team sprint title from 2013 World Championships and won his first gold of these worlds, announced this would be his last season.

“Finishing here in Falun with a world championship title, I think is the best way to finish a career,” he told the Associated Press. “I want these memories like today to be forever in my head.”

Lamy Chappuis added that he plans to finish out the World Cup season in March.

First in the jump, Braud and Lamy Chappuis started the two-man sprint 11 seconds ahead of Japan’s Yoshito Watabe and Akito Watabe in second. Germany’s Eric Frenzel and Johannes Rydzek headed out third, 21 seconds out of first, and Norway’s Magnus Moan and Håvard Klemetsen started with a 44-second deficit in fourth.

The U.S., with Bryan Fletcher and Taylor Fletcher, jumped to 10th of 12 teams and started 2:04 back.

“Not sure how you get minus wind points and a green light in a headwind comp?” U.S. Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett tweeted after the jumping portion.

Amid the softest, slowest conditions of the two-week championships (the course had been re-groomed after the women’s 30 k classic, but didn’t firm up in the warm temperatures), the Fletchers improved to ninth, 1:59.9 behind France with the fifth-fastest team time in the cross-country race.

“Today was racing for pride,” Bryan said in a USSA press release. “I was unlucky on the jump and needed a near perfect jump to have a chance in those conditions. Unfortunately I didn’t have that jump which took Tay and I out of the competition.”
“Taylor and I went out in the race to enjoy the crowd and the atmosphere in the last competition of worlds,” he added. “Falun did a great job hosting the championships and I enjoyed them throughly. I am walking away with a personal best finish and some motivation going into the rest of the season.”

France edged out Germany by 2.7 seconds and Norway took bronze, 19.4 seconds out of first.

Finland’s Ilkka Herola and Jim Haertull finished fourth (+1:04.2), Italy was fifth (+1:18.7) with Samuel Costa and Alessandro Pittin, the Watabe brothers placed sixth (+1:25.7), Austria’s Sepp Schneider and Bernhard Gruber were seventh (+1:40.9), and the Czech Republic was eighth (+1:50.4).

After the U.S., Slovenia placed 10th and Estonia was 11th.

Results

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Taylor Fletcher en route to the fastest tim of the second leg of the team gundersen 4 x 5 k at the 2015 FIS  Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. (photo: flying pointroad)

Taylor Fletcher (8) en route to the fastest time of the second leg of the team Gundersen 4 x 5 k at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad.com)

FALUN, Sweden — The U.S. Nordic Combined squad jumped to eighth and skied to seventh overall in Sunday’s 4 x 5-kilometer team event at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.

Going into the cross-country portion ranked eighth after the 100-meter jump hill, the four-man U.S. team, consisting of Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, Adam Loomis, and Billy Demong attempted to make up time on the German leaders who started 1:39 ahead of them.  The American squad was unable to make up ground on the leaders, but moved up to seventh place over the course of the relay.

Bryan Fletcher notched the second-fastest time in the relay’s first leg, while his brother Taylor clocked the fastest time of the second leg. The U.S. stuck with Italy for much of the race, and was advancing on the rest of the competition until Italy charged ahead in the final 5 k.

Germany convincingly won the race with a time of 44:20.7 and was followed by Norway (+23.1) and France (+39.6). Third in the team event at 2013 World Championships, the U.S. finished 2:37.8 back from the winners on Sunday.

Results

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