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Archive for February, 2013

Frenzel Takes Victory in Individual Large Hill

Thursday, February 28th, 2013

VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — Germany’s Eric Frenzel exchanged a wooden medal for gold on Thursday in the Large Hill Individaul competition at World Championships. He was fourth in the opening competition of the week but turned things around starting at the jump hill on Thursday morning. He jumped 138.5 meters for the top-scored performance of the morning, giving himself a 14 second lead headed into the Gundersen-start 10 k. By the finish he widened it to 36.7 seconds over Gernhard Gruber (AUT). Jason Lamy Chappuis (FRA) finished third (+37.2).

Billy Demong led the Americans in 15th (+1:26.2). Taylor Fletcher followed in 17th (+1:38), Bryan Fletcher was 23rd (+2:40) and Johnny Spillane, in his first appearance on the cross-country course this week, finished 30th (+3:09).



Demong Anchors U.S. to Historic World Championships Bronze in Team Event

Sunday, February 24th, 2013

VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — After placing fourth in the past two World Championships, the Americans made a point to land on the podium on Sunday in the normal hill/4 x 5 k team event and make history for U.S. Nordic Combined.

Starting in fifth about a minute behind Japan, which had the best jumping team score, the U.S. (Taylor Fletcher, Bryan Fletcher, Todd Lodwick, Billy Demong) rose to second early in the second leg with a strong performance from Bryan Fletcher. Austria’s Wilhelm Denifl had broken away a few kilometers into the race, and Fletcher tagged off to Lodwick in third, 23.3 seconds behind Austria and and less than a second behind Norway.

Lodwick worked with Norway, France and Japan to catch Austria’s Lukas Klapfer, positioning the U.S. in fourth at the last exchange.

Early in the final leg, Demong surged up front to lead Japan, France, Norway and Austria. With less than 2 k to go, he was still in the lead, followed closely by Norway’s Magnus Moan and France’s Jason Lamy Chappuis. On the final climb, Moan and Chappuis attacked and dropped Demong.

While Lamy Chappuis outsprinted Moan to the finish by 0.4 seconds to win gold for France, Demong held off Japan’s Yusuke Minato and Austria’s Mario Stecher on the downhill into the stadium and placed third, 4.2 seconds behind.


Lamy Chappuis Picks Off the Places to Win World Championships Opener

Friday, February 22nd, 2013

France’s Jason Lamy Chappuis (c) outlunges Austria’s Mario Stecher (l) for gold and Bjorn Kircheisen of Germany, who was third in the individual normal hill/10 k on Friday at the 2013 Nordic Combined World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy.

VAL DI FIEMME, Italy — After jumping to 11th on the first day of the Nordic Combined FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Predazzo, Jason Lamy Chappuis of France knew starting 1:13 minutes back in the 10-kilometer Gundersen that he could fight for the podium if everything went right Friday. The defending champion from 2011 World Championships in Oslo, Norway, he saw no reason why he shouldn’t fight for it again.

But gold? That was unexpected.

“I can’t believe it because after the jumping part, I was quite disappointed and I knew I had to do an awesome race to come back,” Lamy Chappuis told reporters after edging Austria’s Mario Stecher, who started second, by 0.2 seconds for the win. “I knew I could do probably a podium if I had a great race, but first place I couldn’t believe it.”

In a photo finish for second, Stecher edged Germany’s Björn Kircheilsen, who skied the second-fastest time at the Lago di Tesero cross-country stadium to rise from 12th to third overall. Also for Germany, Eric Frenzel was fourth (+0.5) after starting sixth, 0.41 seconds behind Norway’s Haavard Klemetsen. First in the jump with a distance of 103.5 meters on the 106-meter normal hill, Klemetsen ended up fifth overall (+16.2).

“We didn’t know until a few meters before the finish line who was going to win,” Lamy Chappuis recalled. “I saw Eric Frenzel really strong, then he collapsed a little bit earlier. I could push as hard as I could and I saw behind me they weren’t coming back, but it was a really long sprint to the finish line. I felt like I never could make it to the end.”

Leading the Americans in 14th, Bryan Fletcher improved from a 19th-place finish in the jump. He started 1:41 after Klemetsen and finished 1:01.2 behind the winner. Billy Demong rose to 23rd (+1:31.6) from 47th after starting nearly three minutes back and skiing the third-fastest 10 k. Taylor Fletcher was 25th for the U.S. after ranking 45th in the jump and racing to the ninth-fastest time, and Todd Lodwick was 32nd after starting in 30th.

“For Bryan it was a good day,” U.S. head coach Dave Jarrett said. “He skied well. Jumping-wise, we know he’s way better and he could’ve been up there with the others, but it was a hard day on the jumping hill, really low speed, really windy. It’s encouraging for Bryan, Bill and Taylor to have pretty much a sub-par jumping performance and be kind of in there, but we still need to improve on the jumping side to be fighting for the podium.”


Bieler Back on Top in Almaty World Cup

Sunday, February 10th, 2013

After making the podium for the first time in four years on Saturday, Austrian Christoph Bieler left no question he’s in top form, winning Sunday’s World Cup competition in Almaty, Kazakhstan. The 35-year-old beat Akito Watabe of Japan by 4.4 seconds in 25:31 for his first World Cup victory in five years.

Sidelined with sickness earlier this year, Bieler posted the best jump Sunday and started 24 seconds ahead of teammate Mario Seidl, who set a record on the large hill Saturday. Seidl was second in the jump on Sunday and ultimately placed sixth. Bieler had a 59-second head start on Watabe, who ranked seventh in the jump, and managed to hold the lead from start to finish. Miroslav Dvorak from the Czech Republic started eighth and reached the podium for a career-best third, 17.5 seconds behind Bieler.

No Americans competed.

Next up for Nordic Combined: World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Italy, starting Feb. 22.


Kircheisen Storms to First Victory of Season at Almaty World Cup

Saturday, February 9th, 2013

No stranger to the podium, German Björn Kircheisen made it back on top for the first time this season on Saturday, winning the large-hill/10-kilometer Individual Gundersen World Cup competition in Almaty, Kazakhstan.

Ninth in the jump, Kircheisen made up nearly a minute deficit to catch the leader and win by 5.3 seconds in 25:09.6. Japan’s Akito Watabe took second, and Christoph Bieler of Austria placed third, 10.2 seconds behind Kircheisen.

Taihei Kato of Japan was fourth (+15.3) and Austrian Mario Seidl captured a career-best fifth after dominating the jumping round. Seidl, 20, set a new hill record with a 142-meter jump and went into the race with a 13-second head start on Kato, who had the second-best jump. Bieler in third started 16 seconds back, and Kircheisen started 58 second after Seidl. According to FIS News, Seidl led for about three of five laps. Bieler and Kato then caught up with him while Watabe and Kircheisen closed the gap. On the last lap, Kircheisen pushed hard to successfully drop the pack.

No Americans competed.



Germany Wins Team Event, U.S. 7th

Sunday, February 3rd, 2013

Germany demonstrated their strength in depth Sunday in Sochi, Russia, winning the men’s HS140/4×5 k team event by a commanding margin of 2.7 seconds over the second placed French team.

The German team consisted of Johannes Rydzek, Björn Kircheisen, Manuel Faisst and Eric Frenzel.  Frenzel had to subdue the charge of Frenchman Jason Lamy Chappuis, a close rival in the overall Nordic Combined standings.

Manuel Faisst (GER), started off proceedings with a strong first leg which allowed subsequent runners Johannes Rydzek (GER) and Björn Kircheisen (GER) to set up Frenzel for the expectant showdown of Frenzel and Chappuis (FRA).

Frenzel precluded any late heroics by Chappuis by skiing away from his rival; Germany finished in a time of 51:23.3.

Austria completed the podium, trailing in in a time of 51:32.6, 9.3 seconds behind the winning time of Germany.

The United States skied to a seventh-place finish in a time of 53:14.2, 1:51.1 behind Germany.


Gruber Denies Frenzel, Taylor Fletcher surges to 5th in Sochi

Saturday, February 2nd, 2013

Bernhard Gruber (AUT) interrupted Eric Frenzel‘s lavish run of recent form to take the win earlier today in Sochi, Russia.  Gruber jumped well through tough, foggy conditions, beginning the skating portion of the Gunderson HS 140/10km competition in 2nd place.  He quickly overtook compatriot Mario Seidl (AUT), a diminutive 20 year old that destoryed the field away in the jumping but lacks skiing speed.  Gruber finished in a combined time of 28:19.7.

Frenzel (GER), had a less auspicious jump (5th), but showed strong skiing form, though it wasn’t enough to overtake Gruber (AUT).  Frenzel notched a second place finish in 28:33.8, 14.1 seconds in arreas.

Wilhelm Denifl (AUS) posted a 3rd place finish after a 4th place jump.  He held off a strong challenge from Taiei Kato (JAP) to finish in 28:35.2, a mere 0.3 seconds ahead of the Japanese.

A few seconds later Taylor Fletcher (USA) broke the line for a 5th place finish.  Of the top  5 finishers his result is notable in that he overcame a large deficit after jumping 15th.  Taylor was just 18.2 seconds behind winner Gruber (AUT), finishing in 28:37.9.

Brother and countryman Bryan Fletcher (USA) finished farther back in 15th after a promising 10th place jump.  He posted a time of 29:24.6.

Bill Demong (USA) also tested out the Olympic venue, finishing 28th in 31:05.3.


Nordic Combined action continues with the Team HS140/4x5km competition Sunday.