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Posts Tagged ‘Nordic Combined World Cup’

Rydzek Wins; Bryan Fletcher 12th with Second-Fastest Time in Kuopio

Thursday, February 25th, 2016
Bryan Fletcher racing to 36th at last weekend's Nordic Combined World Cup in Lahti, Finland. On Tuesday, he finished 12th in Kuopio, Finland. (Photo: JoJo Baldus)

Bryan Fletcher racing to 36th at last weekend’s Nordic Combined World Cup in Lahti, Finland. On Tuesday, he finished 12th in Kuopio, Finland. (Photo: JoJo Baldus)

On Tuesday, Nordic Combined filled what had been a 15-year void in Kuopio, Finland — it’s been that long since the venue hosted a World Cup event. The large hill/10 k Gundersen was a one-day affair slotted in between last weekend’s racing in Lahti, Finland, and this upcoming weekend’s three-day series in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

Off the 127-meter jump, Japan’s Akito Watabe took the top jumping position, scoring 127.7 points. Håvard Klemetsen from Norway followed in second with 125.7 points, and German Manuel Faisst jumped to third with 121.2 points.

Improving on his jumping, U.S. Nordic Combined’s Bryan Fletcher scored 102 points, for 18th. Teammate Ben Berend jumped to 29th (93.5 points), and Taylor Fletcher 34th (86.2 points).

From the start, the ski race featured Watabe getting reeled in by former World Champion, German Johannes Rydzek. Having settled for fifth in the jump, and starting 34 seconds behind Watabe, Rydzek systematically closed the time gap around halfway through the ski. It was a Watabe-Rydzek sprint for the win, with Ryzdek taking the victory in 23:59.6.

Watabe placed second (+6.2), and Austria’s Wilhelm Denifl placed third (+35.4). World Cup overall leader, Eric Frenzel of Germany, placed seventh (+40.9).

Bryan Fletcher skied the second fastest time of the day, moving up six spots after the jump to finish 12th overall (+43.8). Taylor, with the fourth-fastest ski time, placed 25th (+156.5) while Berend finished 36th.

In an USSA press release, Bryan Fletcher said he was satisfied with his jump, which positioned him toward the front of the pack.

“Kuopio was a close one,” Bryan Fletcher said. “I jumped a lot better than last weekend and I was able to put myself in the race. The course was narrow and the pack was big, which made it a very tactical race. Coming into the final kilometers I had the legs to go but not the room to go. Ultimately it came down to a tough sprint for the line. After last weekend I am happy to be 12th, but I was hoping for a little more.”

Racing continues Friday in Val di Fiemme, Italy, before the final World Cup in Schonach, Germany, March 4-6.

Jumping results | Final 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

No NoCo in Ruka: Wind Cancels World Cup Opener (with Video)

Monday, November 30th, 2015

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.

U.S. NoCo in Trondheim (Video)

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

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.

Norway Wins NoCo Team Event in Kuusamo, Taylor Fletcher Lifts U.S. to Seventh

Monday, December 2nd, 2013

Norway’s success in Kuusamo was furthered with a victory in the Nordic Combined relay.  After an excellent morning of ski jumping, the team skated well in the afternoon, and won with a comfortable margin of 30 seconds over their closest rival Germany.

Magnus Krog led the Norwegians in jumping, flying 145 meters, a new personal best.  His teammates, Grabbak, Kokslien, and Klemetsen, had big jumps as well, landing only 15 to 17 meters behind Krog’s jump, the biggest of the day.

Only Japan’s Yoshito Watabe could come close to matching Krog’s performance, landing just a half meter behind the Norwegians benchmark jump.

The Russian team continued their run of results in Kuusamo, with excellent jumping by all teammates to finishing third behind Norway and Japan in the jumping round.

The American’s did not have a good day on the jump, finishing in 12th, with a start time on the skiing leg 4:22 behind Norway.

Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen led the 5k cross country leg of the relay.  He was chased 28 seconds later by Japan’s Taihei Kato, followed 20 seconds later by Russian Evgeniy Klimov.

Norway’s biggest threat to their race however came in the form of Germany’s first leg skier Bjoern Kircheisen, who started 48 seconds after Klemetsen and skied the fastest 5k leg of the day in 12:15.

Kircheisen nearly surpassed Klemetsen, and the two handed off nearly simultaneously. Manuel Faisst (GER) battled it out with Krog (NOR) to see who would take the lead, but late in race Krog was able to ski away from a tired Faisst to give his teammate Kosklien a 10 second advantage over Germany at the handoff.  Johannes Rydzek (GER) could not match Kosklien over the course and lost yet another 10 seconds to Norway.

Joergen Graaback (NOR), skiing the anchor leg, had ample time at the end of his race to grab a Norwegian flag and savor the victory as he skied into the stadium.

Mikko Kosklien told FIS after his important third leg, “It was a really hard 5k, a tough one, so I was happy that Krog could give me the gap and then I started to try and increase the gap a little bit.  For sure it was a nice feeling to see Joergen come through the finish.”

The Nordic Combined World Cup continues next weekend in Lillehammer.

— Pasha Kahn

Also: (from U.S. Ski Team press release)

U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team’s Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) posted the fastest time in his cross country anchor leg and moved up the pack to give the USA seventh in the 4x5k team event at the nordic combined World Cup season opener.

The Team started the relay in 12th after the team HS142 jumping portion earlier on Sunday.

The Norwegian team jumped into first place and held its lead throughout the relay.

The U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team, Taylor Fletcher, Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO), Todd Lodwick (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY), is starting the season after winning the first ever American medal in the team event at the Nordic World Ski Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy, last February.

The four U.S. athletes failed to qualify in the top 50 for the individual event on Saturday and did not compete. (Note: Demong was disqualified for equipment in the provisional round: ICR 4.2.2.2. German Erik Frenzel won the LH HS142/10 k competition by jumping to fourth and posting the ninth-fastest race time. He beat Norwegians Grabaak and Krog in second and third, by 3.5 and 6.9 seconds, respectively.)

Next the Team travels to Lillehammer, Norway for the nordic combined FIS World Cup on Dec. 7-8.

Results: Saturday’s individual LH/10 k Sunday’s team event

After Frenzel, Japan Sweeps Second Through Fourth in Lahti

Friday, March 8th, 2013

Less than a week after the Nordic World Ski Championships ended in Italy, the Nordic Combined World Cup circuit resumed on Friday with a individual large hill/10 k in Lahti, Finland. German World Champion Eric Frenzel posted another dominating performance, placing fourth in the jump and rising to first overall. He finished the 10 k Gundersen in 24:48.2, 10.1 seconds ahead of Japanese runner-up Akito Watabe.

Japan had a strong day with three skiers in the top four. Taihei Kato was third (+12.9) after ranking second in the jump (behind Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen) and Yoshito Watabe placed fourth (+16.6) with the third-best jump.

Johannes Rydzek of Germany took fifth (+26.3) and Klemetsen was sixth (+29.6). Bryan Fletcher led the U.S. in seventh (+34.4) after notching seventh in the jumping portion. Taylor Fletcher rose from 34th to 19th with the second-fastest ski time behind Norwegian Jørgen Graabak, who ended up 17th.

The Lahti World Cup continues Saturday with the large hill/team sprint.

Results

 

 

Demong Lands on Podium in Val di Fiemme; Bryan Fletcher 7th

Sunday, February 5th, 2012

U.S. Nordic Combined veteran Billy Demong charged ahead in Sunday’s 10 k race at Val di Fiemme, Italy, to post the fastest time of the day and finish third overall for his best World Cup result this season.

Demong ranked 17th in the jump and started 17 spots behind eventual winter Akito Watabe of Japan. He finished 3.9 seconds off Watabe’s winning time of 28:27.8. Mikko Kokslien (NOR) won silver (+3.0).

After Demong, American teammate Bryan Fletcher placed seventh (+18.6), tying his previous best World Cup result from December in Seefeld, Austria. His brother, Taylor Fletcher, went from jumping 33rd to skiing the fifth-fastest split on Sunday for 14th overall. Johnny Spillane also finished in the top 20 in 19th.

Sunday’s overall results