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Posts Tagged ‘Jørgen Graabak’

Norway Tops Lillehammer Team Event and Individual 10 k

Monday, December 4th, 2017

The all-Norwegian podium from Sunday’s Nordic Combined World Cup individual 10 k Gundersen start in Lillehammer, Norway. Espen Andersen (1) placed first, Jan Schmid (11) was second and Jørgen Graabak (9) placed third. (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined)

This past Saturday and Sunday, Dec. 2-3, Lillehammer, Norway hosted a two-day Nordic Combined World Cup.

Day 1

Saturday’s Nordic Combined World Cup 4 x 5-kilometer team event initially saw each nation’s skiers flying from the storied venue’s 98-meter hill.

Home-nation Norway set itself up for the ski portion of the event by collectively flying farthest. Team members Jan Schmid, Espen Andersen, Jarl Magnus Riiber, and Jørgen Graabak ranked first in the jumping portion with 524.2 points. Germany’s formidable foursome of Eric Frenzel, Johanne Rydzek, Vinzenz Geiger, and Fabian Rießle jumped to second place, amassing 498.5 points, and thus started the relay 46 seconds after Norway. Japan’s team of Taihei Kato, Go Yamamoto, Akito Watabe, and Yoshito Watabe was third after the jump with 486.7 points and started 50 seconds back.

The U.S. team, constituted of Bryan Fletcher, Jasper Good, Ben Berend, and Taylor Fletcher, jumped to 10th place with 396.5 points.

The 4 x 5 k ski portion saw some drama in the fight for the podium’s top spot. Norway’s 46-second gap on Germany at the start dwindled to 1.7 seconds by the finish, yet Norway pulled off the win in 50:46, while Japan slipped to fifth place (+29.1).

France’s team of Francois Braud, Maxime Laheurte, Antoine Gerard, and Jason Lamy Chappuis, which jumped to fourth and started the relay 1:12 minutes after Norway, placed third, 21.4 seconds behind the winners. Finland followed in fourth (+22.0), up from sixth after the jump.

The U.S. finished ninth overall (+3:25) out of 12 teams, after skiing in eighth for the first 10 k with first- and second-leg skiers Bryan Fletcher and Good.

Day 2

The second day of competition in Lillehammer, the individual large-hill/10 k Gundersen start, took place on the 140-meter hill. Norway took the top three spots after the jump. Norway’s Espen Andersen flew the furthest with 147.4 points, Espen Bjoernstad was second with 143 points, and Harald Johnas Riiber third with 140.7 points.

Norway held onto the top-three podium spots after the 10 k race, but some re-shuffling occurred in terms of the Norwegians’ standing in second and third place.

Andersen, who was the first skier off, and began with an 18-second lead on the second starter Bjoernstad, placed first overall in 26:25.1 minutes. Second overall was Norway’s Jan Schmid (+3.4), who jumped to 11th place and began the ski 50 seconds back. The third podium spot was earned by Norway’s Jørgen Graabak (+4.2). Graabak started 54 seconds behind the day’s winner Andersen.

Bjoernstad the day’s second best jumper faded to 11th, 2.8 seconds back. Harald Johnas Riiber, the third place jumper, fell back to 27th overall, 1:40.2 minutes behind.  

No Americans started Sunday’s event.

Results: Day 1 team event | Day 2 individual 10 k

— Jason Albert

Frenzel Tops His Coach with 29 Wins; Bryan Fletcher 17th in Trondheim (Updated)

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016

(Note: This post has been updated to include quotes from Bryan Fletcher.)

On Wednesday’s Nordic Combined World Cup round in Trondheim, Norway, Overall World Cup leader, Germany’s Eric Frenzel, jumped and skied himself into the record books. The day’s large hill/10 k Gundersen start, was the second of two consecutive days of races in Trondheim. On day one, Frenzel placed third overall.

With his 29th World Cup victory on Wednesday, Frenzel becomes the second-winningest Nordic Combined World Cup skier. He now has one more win than his jumping coach, compatriot Ronny Ackerman. Finnish skier Hannu Manninen sits in first for most overall wins, with 48 victories.

Skiers began the day flying off Trondheim’s 140-meter large hill. Japan’s Akito Watabe, second overall on the Nordic Combined World Cup, maintained his jumping prowess by placing first off the hill. He scored 137.2 points, while in second place, Frenzel scored 130.5. Norway’s Håvard Klemetsen jumped to third, with 127.4 points.

The U.S. Nordic Combined Team had two athletes in the competition. Bryan Fletcher jumped to 30th, brother Taylor Fletcher, was tied for 40th.

Watabe began the 10 k ski with a 27-second advantage on Frenzel. That margin proved futile for the Japanese star. Around 6 k, Frenzel had reeled Watabe in. Frenzel crossed the finish line in 24:28.5. Watabe, skiing to second, finished 15.9 seconds back. Norway’s Jørgen Graabak skied to third overall (+57.8), after flying to 11th on his jump.

Bryan Fletcher, starting in 30th place, 2:55 behind Watabe, skied the eighth-fastest ski time, moving up to 17th overall (+2:03.1). Taylor, starting in bib 40, moved up thirteen spots, to 27th overall (+2:35.5). He skied the seventh-fastest ski time.

In an email, Bryan Fletcher wrote he hopes for a strong surge towards the end of the season. “I do believe I am not far away from being in the top 10 consistently.”

Bryan remains a force on the ski side of the NoCo equation. “Usually I am one of the fastest guys on the circuit.  Today I was 8th fastest, yesterday I was 5th fastest. Oslo I was 9th and in Seefeld, I was top 3 all three days with a fastest time on the 3rd day,” he wrote.

As a team, although they have had breakthrough moments, they have not experienced the type of success off the jumping hill  as they have on the skate skis. Bryan explained he’s looking to get a bit more distance from his jumps to compliment his already world class skiing speed.

“Jumping is a tough sport and no matter how good you are there is always something to fine tune,” Bryan wrote.  “Commonly we speak a lot about getting the hips moving upwards while keeping the chest low in order to keep speed over the knoll. But that is only a small part of jumping.  Honestly you could spend an entire year speaking to coaches, standing on the coaches stand, and talking to the athletes and you would only just start to understand what makes a good jump versus a bad one.  Obviously there is more than one style of good jumping and when it works, it works, and when it doesn’t, it doesn’t.

“The last 3 years we have focused more and more on jumping but the one thing we do have dialed is the XC racing.”

Nordic Combined racing continues next week on Feb. 19 in Lahti, Finland.

Jumping Results | Overall results

 

— Jason Albert

Riiber Wins at Holmenkollen; Bryan Fletcher 20th There and 14th in Trondheim

Wednesday, February 10th, 2016
This past weekend on Saturday, Feb. 6, during the same foggy conditions in which the men’s Holmenkollen cross-country 50 k classic was run, the Nordic Combined World Cup sent skiers off of Holmenkollen’s 134-meter large hill for the jumping portion of an individual gundersen 10 k.

Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber won the event. Japan’s Akito Watabe placed second, and overall Nordic Combined World Cup leader, Germany’s Eric Frenzel, raced to third.

The U.S. had two athletes in the points: Bryan Fletcher skied to 20th, while his brother, Taylor Fletcher, placed 30th. Teammate Adam Loomis finished 43rd.

In a video on FIS, jumpers flying off the large hill are seen first as gray-tone silhouettes, then at the last second, as spandex-clad jumpers as they near the landing zone in Holmenkollen’s pea-soup visibility.

The jumping proved decisive. With the jump heading off the large hill, the time differences at the start of the skiing portion were expected to be possibly insurmountable.

In an email, Bryan Fletcher explained that the large hill gives a slight advantage to those best at jumping. With longer flight potential, there’s also the potential for greater differences in the distances jumped, and therefore, points earned. “The new large hill points are making the competitions very spread out and weighted a little more on the jumping,” he wrote.

In another post-race email, Taylor Fletcher shared those sentiments. “The jumping is now much harder on the larger hill as it tips the cap to the strong jumpers much more than before.”

As was expected, big gaps were earned from those performing best on the large hill.

Riiber won the jump, earning 135.1 points, and a whopping 1:10 advantage at the start of the 10 k ski over Watabe and Frenzel, who scored 117.7 and 117.5 points, respectively. Bryan jumped to 20th, starting the ski 2:31 back, Loomis was 38th off the hill, 3:56 back, and Taylor 45th after the jump, and starting 4:25 after jump winner Riiber.

During the ski portion, no one was able to close the gap on Riiber. He crossed the line first in 24:36. Watabe did reel Riiber in a bit closer, but Riiber’s 1:10 head start proved too big. Watabe, who skied to second overall, was 16.6 seconds back at the finish. Frenzel, who started with Watabe, couldn’t match the Japanese skier’s pace. He placed third (+28.2).

Bryan skied the ninth fastest ski time on the day and skied up five spots  — starting in 20th and finishing 15th. He leaves Holmenkollen’s storied venue knowing he is trending towards the positive when it comes to his jumping.

“Oslo was an awesome event. I know it may have seemed a little boring on the tv with all the fog but it was a nice comp with good winds in tough conditions.  Personally I was happy with my jumping in the comp. Another step in the right direction for me and I am continuing to work with these positive steps.  The XC was tough, my legs were still a bit heavy from the last weekends races and I felt it in the race.”

In fact, Bryan has stood atop the podium here before. In 2012, he won the World Cup final there, which included a large hill/10 k competition.

“Competing in Oslo is always special. Having the memories of winning there will always stay with me for the rest of my life.  Coming back each year I get a boost of energy thinking about the good memories I have had there,” Bryan wrote. “This week we have Trondheim comps and hopefully I can carry the recent momentum into tomorrows and the next day’s events. This is another hard course and a large hill so I expect jumping to be very important to getting results.”

Of the two brothers, Taylor posted the faster ski leg with the third fastest-time of the day, finishing in 30th (+2:55.9). Post-ski, he had climbed a full 15 spots on the leaderboard, after starting the ski race in 45th.

Taylor wrote that the Oslo competitions are always something to look forward to.

“Holmenkollen is something special for sure. I have been there a couple times now, and each time I go, I can’t wait to go back. The venue provides a special setting for competition. I know there is no other venue that will gather as many people that are as passionate about nordic sports as in Oslo. Over the years, our team has had some success there, which makes it memorable. This year was much harder for me as I was struggling with the jumping portion of  nordic combined. That being said, Even when I am not in a position to be on the podium, I still race as hard as possible as the fans make you feel like you’re possibly winning the race.”

Nordic Combined World Cup racing continued Tuesday with a large hill/10 k competition in Trondheim, Norway.

There, Bryan improved from 26th in the jump to 14th overall, 1:14 behind Norwegian winner Jørgen Graabak. Taylor placed 28th (+2:46.1) after jumping to 49th on the 140-meter large hill in Trondheim, once again posting the third-fastest 10 k time. Loomis was 47th in the jump and finished in the same spot, 47th (+4:22.9).

“14th place today 26th after jumping & raced 5th fastest time,” Bryan tweeted after Tuesday’s competition. “Take two in Trondheim tomorrow!”

Graabak won the first day of competition in Trondheim after jumping to eighth and crossing the line first in 24:26.2. Frenzel finished just 5.1 seconds back in second place after jumping to seventh, and starting 7 seconds ahead of Graabak. The jump leader with a 16-second head start, Riiber held onto podium in third (+19.7).

Holmenkollen: Jumping results | Overall results

Trondheim: Tuesday’s jump | Overall results

— Jason Albert

Bryan Fletcher 21st for Top American Result in Val di Fiemme Weekend

Monday, February 2nd, 2015

The end of January welcomed three days of racing in Val di Fiemme, Italy for the nordic combined World Cup. The first day of racing marked the individual Gundersen 10 k, where Bernhard Gruber of of Austria won with a time of 29:13.9. He was followed by Norwegians Jan Schmid (+7.8) and Jørgen Graaback (+10.2) in second and third. Bryan Fletcher led the Americans in 25th place, 1:44.5 behind. He was followed by Adam Loomis and Micheal Ward in 28th and 41st.

Saturday’s team sprint went to Johannes Wasel, Tobias Simon and David Welde of team Germany. They were followed by Japan and Russia in second and third.

Sunday’s 10 k Gundersen went to Jørgen Graaback of Norway, who won his first World Cup in 25.28.7. Rounding out the podium were Gruber (+3.8) and Fabian Rießle of Germany (+4.1), respectively.

Fletcher led the American men in the Val di Fiemme in 21st (+1:03.5). In what a U.S. Ski and Snowboard Association press release called an “illness-plagued weekend,” the American team was unable to match its most recent World Cup performance in Sapporo, Japan, where brother Taylor Fletcher notched third and Bryan placed eighth. Taylor finished 35th in Sunday’s race, while teammates Loomis and Colin Delaney finished 36th and 45th.

Friday’s 10 k Gundersen Results

Saturday’s Team Sprint

Sunday’s 10 k Gundersen 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

 

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.

Bryan Fletcher, Lodwick Rally from 14th to Fourth in Ramsau Team Sprint

Saturday, December 14th, 2013

Starting 14th of 20 teams in Saturday’s World Cup team sprint, US Nordic Combined’s Bryan Fletcher and Todd Lodwick put down ferocious 2 x 7.5 k lap times to finish fourth, just over a second off the podium in Ramsau, Austria.

Norway’s first team of Mikko Kokslein and Jørgen Graabak won the event in 33:59.3, just 8.2 seconds ahead of Norway II’s Haavard Klemetsen and Magnus Krog in second. Italy took third with Samuel Costa and Alessandro Pittin, 8.8 seconds behind the winners and 1.2 ahead of Fletcher and Lodwick, who combined for the fastest cross-country time.

The second U.S. team, Brett Denney and Taylor Fletcher placed 15th.

Results