FIS Nordic Combined World Cup (Val di Fiemme, Italy)
U.S. Nordic Combined’s Bryan Fletcher recorded his second-best result of the season on Sunday, the last of three days of World Cup competition in Val di Fiemme, Italy.
Fletcher jumped to 33rd on the large hill then raced the second-fastest 10 k of the day to finish 13th, 56.8 seconds behind the winner, Eric Frenzel of Germany.
Frenzel started Sunday with the best jump, which gave him an 18-second head start on Japan’s Go Yamamoto, who started second in the 10 k Gundersen start.
Frenzel went on to hold off his challengers for first, crossing the finish in 27:21.7 minutes, while German teammate Johannes Rydzek finished 30.2 seconds later in second. One second behind Rydzek, Japan’s Akito Watabe placed third (+31.2) after starting 30 seconds back in third. Rydzek raced up from 16th and 1:26 back at the start, while Yamamoto dropped to 38th (+3:44.1) at the finish.
Taylor Fletcher finished 30th (+2:36.1) on Sunday, after jumping to 46th, Ben Loomis placed 39th (+4:00.8), and Ben Berend 40th (+4:13.0) for the U.S.
On Saturday, the U.S. team of Bryan and Taylor Fletcher finished eighth in the 2 x 7.5 k team event, 40 seconds behind the Norwegian winners, Espen Andersen and Jørgen Grabaak. The Americans ranked 16th after the jumping portion and clocked the fastest ski time to chip away at a 1:41 starting deficit.
Meanwhile, Berend and Loomis jumped to 10th and were slated to start the cross-country race 44 seconds behind the German leaders (Terence Weber and Fabian Rießle, first after the jump). But the U.S. second team did not start the 2 x 7.5 k race.
Norway’s Andersen and Grabaak ranked second after the jump and combined for the seventh-fastest ski time to finish in 35:02.4. They edged the Czech Republic’s Tomas Portyk and Miroslav Dvorak by 0.3 seconds for the win, and Italy’s Samuel Costa and Alessandro Pittin raced up from 11th to third, just 0.9 seconds behind the winners.
Germany finished off the podium in fifth (+11.6), behind Finland’s Eero Hirvonen and Ilkka Herola in fourth (+2.7).
To start the long weekend, Frenzel won the individual large hill/10 k on Friday, and just like Sunday, Rydzek placed second. Frenzel jumped to second and started Friday’s cross-country race 26 seconds behind Austria’s Mario Seidl, who led after the jump. Frenzel secured his first win of the weekend in 29:19.4, Rydzek followed 24.2 seconds later in second place, and Norway’s Magnus Moan was third (+25.9). Rydzek posted the fastest course time after starting 1:45 back in 25th, and Moan started just two seconds ahead of him in 23rd. Seidl ended up 11th (+42.3).
Taylor Fletcher led the U.S. in 21st (+1:41.4), skiing the fourth-fastest 10 k to pick off 25 places, after starting 46th and nearly 3 minutes back. No other Americans competed on Day 1 in Val di Fiemme.
The Nordic Combined World Cup is headed to Chaux-Neuve, France, for the next competitions on Saturday and Sunday.
FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup (Kuusamo, Finland)
Meanwhile, at the Nordic Combined Continental Cup in Kuusamo, better known a Ruka, Finland, the U.S. picked up a couple of top 10-results, with Adam Loomis placing seventh on Sunday and Jasper Good ninth on Saturday.
In Saturday’s individual large hill/10 k, Good jumped to seventh and started the cross-country race 1:03 minutes behind the jump leader, Norway’s Harald Johnas Riiber. Three Austrians proceeded to sweep the podium, with Lukas Greiderer winning in 27:51.3, Martin Fritz placing second (+26.5), and Harald Lemmerer third (+43.2), after starting in sixth, eighth and 17th, respectively.
Riiber slipped to sixth (+1:06.3), and Good finished ninth (+1:51.8) for the American’s first individual Continental Cup top 10.
Also for the U.S. on Saturday, Stephen Schumann finished 18th (+2:57.1) for his first individual top 20, Loomis 30th (+4:35.4), and Grant Andrews 39th (+6:39.5).
On Sunday in another large hill/10 k, Loomis raced up from 14th in the jump to seventh at the finish, 1:27.5 behind the winner, Norway’s Sindre Ure Søtvik. Loomis started the ski race 3:30 behind the jump leader, Japan’s Hisaki Nagamine, while Søtvik started 32 seconds back in second and secured the win in 28:44.9.
Austria took second and third with Tomaz Druml (+16.4) and Fritz (+52.3), respectively, after Druml started sixth and Fritz jumped to fifth.
For Loomis, 24, it was his first Continental Cup top 10 in five years and his fourth-career individual podium.
Schumman achieved another personal best of 13th on Sunday (for his second top 20 of the weekend and his career), finishing 2:15.9 behind the winner. Good followed him closely in 14th (+2:17.7) and Andrews finished 36th (+5:38.8) to close out the weekend.
Next weekend, Otepää, Estonia, will host the NoCo Continental Cup with two individual normal hill/10 k competitions.