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Val di Fiemme Nordic Combined World Cup Wrap Up; Fletcher Continues at Warp Speed

Monday, January 14th, 2019

Taylor Fletcher (leading skier) on his way to posting a 20th overall during the first day of NoCo World Cup racing in Val Di Fiemme, Italy. (Photo: @tfletchernordic Instagram screenshot)

Starting last Friday in Val di Fiemme three days of the Nordic Combined World Cups were contested. Day one featured an individual large hill/10 k Gundersen start race, the second day a large hill / 2 x 7.5 k team sprint, and day three another individual large hill 10 k Gundersen start.

Germany’s Johannes Rydzek won the first day of competition after ranking fifth in the jumping portion. He began the ski with a 53 second deficit to first place jumper- first-to-start skier Mario Seidl of Italy. Rydzek’s winning time was 26:58.4 minutes in the 10 k skate race.

Norway’s Jørgen Gråbak placed second (+5.9) after jumping to sixth place and beginning the ski 52 seconds back. Seidl skied to third overall, 7.2 seconds behind first-place skier Rydzek.

USA Nordic’s Taylor Fletcher continued his positive trend in the results. Fletcher jumped to 41st earning him a 3:13 minute setback as he began the ski portion of the day’s events. Again with his ski speed, he posted the second fastest time of day on his way to moving up 21 bib numbers to finish 20th overall, 2:02 minutes back.

Fletcher skied the 10 k course in 25:47.4 minutes, 0.3 seconds off the fastest time of day posted by Germany’s Fabian Rießle.

The second day in Val di Fiemme’s NoCo World Cup highlighted the two-person team event.

Norway’s combo of Jan Schmid and Gråbak placed first off the jump and went on to win the 2 x 7.5 k ski in a time of 34:30.9 minutes.

But all was not cool and stress-free for the Norwegians. They were almost taken at the line by the second and third to start the relay. Germany I’s Rydzek and Vinzenz Geiger placed second (+0.5) and Germany II’s Eric Frenzel and Rießle were third (+0.5) in a photo finish.

The U.S. team of Fletcher and Ben Loomis jumped to 14th and began the ski 2:18 minutes back. Fletcher and Loomis placed 10th overall (+1:53.0) after skiing the third fastest time of day in the 2 x 7.5 k ski.

Video of Day Three Highlights

Day three in Val di Fiemme went to Germany. The individual 10 k Gundersen start was won by  Germany’s Geiger in a time of 26:34.0 minutes. Geiger jumped to fourth, began the ski 37 seconds back, and skied the fastest time of day on his way to the win. Austria’s Franz-Josef Rehrl was in first place after the jump and skied off first in bib 1. Rehrl faded a bit during the ski portion to place fourth (+47.4).

Geiger’s teammate Rydzek placed second (+7.6) in the final standings. Rydzek jumped to sixth and had the second fastest ski split on Sunday. Japan’s Akito Watabe placed third (+40.6). Watabe also jumped to third place and began 36 seconds behind Rehrl.

Fletcher jumped into 39th to begin the ski with a 3:10 minute deficit. He skied the 10th fastest time during the ski to place 30th (+3:37. 4).

Canada’s Nathaniel Mah was positioned 42nd after the jump but was pulled from the ski race after being lapped.

After the three-race series, Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norway leads the Nordic Combined World Cup with 730 points. Riiber placed fourth overall in Friday’s individual race. Rydzak sits second overal with 581 points, and Watabe third with 462 points.

Fletcher is curently ranked 35th on the Word Cup.

Day 1 Results | Day two Results | Day three Results

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup in Otepää , Estonia

Monday, January 7th, 2019

American Taylor Fletcher in Otepää, Estonia on his way to 19th place in Sunday’s Individual Gundersen 10 k when he skied the fastest time of day. (Photo: fis-ski.com screenshot)

 

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup Otepää, Estonia Day 1 Individual Gundersen 10 k

The Nordic Combined World Cup got back to jumping and skiing on Saturday in Otepää, Estonia for a two-day event.

Due to high winds on Saturday, jumping results from Friday’s provisional rounds were used to determine the start order for the ski portion of Saturday’s racing.

In Friday’s provisional round, Austria’s Franz-Josef Rehrl placed first, Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber second, and teammate Esen Bjørnstad third.

The 10 k ski race provided an opportunity for some reshuffling as the ski race shook out.

Ribber, who began the ski race three seconds behind first starter Rehrl, won the race in 23:18.1 minutes. Japan’s Akito Watabe, the fifth-placed jumper and starting with an 11 second penalty, skied himself into second place (+3.2). And ninth-place jumper, starting with a 46-second deficit, Austria’s Martin Fritz placed third (+5.0).

The U.S. Nordic Combined team had three athletes entered. Taylor Fletcher jumped to 45th but skied up to 30th place (+2:16.1). Fletcher skied the third fastest ski leg after starting 3:18 minutes back. Ben Loomis placed 38th (+3:26.5). Loomis began in bib 44, 3:14 minutes back when he started. Jasper Good jumped to 41st and a 2: 57 minute penalty. Good ended up 45th overall (+4:17.3). Jared Shumate jumped to 50th. He began the ski 3:42 minutes behind, and placed 46th (+4:28.6).

Saturday Results

 

Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber won both of the weekend’s races in Otepää, Estonia on the men’s Nordic Combined World Cup. (Photo: his-ski.com)

 

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FIS Nordic Combined World Cup Otepää, Estonia Day 2 Individual Gundersen 10 k

On day two in Otepää, Riiber scored the most points off the jump hill and went on to win the 10 k individual Gundersen in 22:31.1 minutes. Germany’s Johannes Rydzek was second (+20.9) after placing third in the jump and beginning the ski with a 36-second deficit.

Japan’s Watabe, the eighth best jumper, placed third overall (+43.6). Watabe began the race 49 seconds back.

American Fletcher jumped to 40th and began the ski portion 2:34 minutes back. On his way to skiing the fastest time on the day, Fletcher reeled in 21 skiers to place 19th overall, 1:17.9 minutes off the leader. Loomis was the next best American in 34th (+2:31.0) after jumping to 36th place. Good placed 42nd (+3:07.1) and was the 37th best jumper Sunday. Shumate jumped to 49th and placed 47th (+4:39.4) after the ski.

Sunday Results

Overall World Cup Results after Otepää

FasterSkier will be running an article later in the week on U.S. women’s NoCo skier Tara Geraghty-Moats.

 

 

Lillehammer Triple goes to Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber

Monday, December 3rd, 2018

Jarl Magnus Riiber of Norway sweeps the three-day Lillehammer Triple – winning all three events. (Photo: FISNordic Combined)

 

Day 1 of the Lillehammer Triple, a three-day series of Nordic Combined races in the storied Norwegian hamlet, began Friday and ran through Sunday.

On Day 1, Norway’s Jarl Magnus Riiber, after jumping to sixth place, won the men’s individual Gundersen 5-kilometer in a time of 12:45.7 minutes. Riiber made up a deficit of 47 seconds on the ski for the win. Fifth place jumper, Eric Frenzel of Germany lost to Riiber by 0.1 seconds, after starting the ski 44 seconds back. Third place went to the day’s best jumper, Austria’s Franz-Josef Rehrl. Rehrl finished 5.7 seconds back.

U.S. Nordic Combined Team member, Taylor Fletcher jumped and skied to 24th (+1:08.7). Fletcher jumped to 14th place and began the ski 1:13 minutes back. Also for the U.S., Ben Loomis was 49th (+2:45.0), Jasper Good 51st (+3:04.4).

On day two in Lillehammer, the International Ski Federation (FIS) brought back a mass start format for the first time in nearly a decade. Athletes went head-to-head Saturday morning in a 10 k skate. The first place skier earned zero points, all other skiers earned negative points based on their time back. Then, in the afternoon, only the top-50 skiers from the mass start began the jumping round. The athlete with the most points after the jumping round, wins the day.

Norway’s Riiber again won out. He placed fifth in the ski and scored enough points in the jump to accumulate 131.8 points. Frenzel placed second overall — he placed third in the ski and scored 123.7 total points. Germany’s Fabian Rießle placed third with 123.6 points. Rießle placed second in the mass start ski.

Fletcher finished in 39th. He skied to 40th place and had a total of 66.9 points after the jump. Good placed 45th overall; skiing to 50th and earning 56.5 points total.

Forty-seven athletes completed the competition, with three being disqualified.

The third day in Lillehammer was like groundhog day for Riiber and his competitors. The Norwegian made it a three-peat by scoring the highest during the jumping round and winning the cross-country portion of the day’s individual Gundersen 10 k. Riiber won the ski portion in 27:54.3 minutes to take the overall in the three-day competition.

Teammate Joergen Graabak was second (+35.8), and Germany’s Johannes Rydzek third (+36.6).

American Fletcher finished in 37th (+5:03.6). No other Americans were entered. 

Day 1 Results | Day 2 Results | Day 3 Results

Germany’s Frenzel Takes Seefeld Triple Crown

Tuesday, January 31st, 2017
Germany's Eric Frenzel (c) celebrates his 2017 Seefeld Triple victory on Sunday in Seefeld, Austria. German Johannes Rydzek (l) placed second, Austrian Bernhard Gruber (r) was third. (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined Twitter account)

Germany’s Eric Frenzel (c) celebrates his 2017 Seefeld Triple victory on Sunday in Seefeld, Austria. German Johannes Rydzek (l) placed second, Austrian Bernhard Gruber (r) was third. (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined/Twitter)

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup (Seefeld, Austria)

Seefeld, Seefeld, Seefeld. Last Friday through Sunday, Seefeld, Austria hosted the eponymous “Seefeld Triple” with three days of consecutive Nordic Combined World Cup competitions.

Day 1

Day 1 featured an individual normal hill/5 k. The top jumping spot went to Austrian Bernhard Gruber, with Italian Samuel Costa second and Germany’s Eric Frenzel third. Starting 19 seconds back in the ski portion was fifth-place jumper from Germany Johannes Rydzek.

The 5 k was decided in a photo finish, with Rydzek out-toeing Frenzel for the win— both were given the official time of 12:00.2. Costa, who started 4 seconds after Gruber, finished third (+6.8).

Three Americans contested the day: U.S Nordic Combined’s Bryan Fletcher was the highest ranked in 31st (+1:16.7). He had been 35th after the jump, and started the 5 k race 1:24 behind Gruber. Teammates Ben Berend and Taylor Fletcher jumped to 31st and 43rd, respectively, and Berend finished 37th (+1:42.9), while Taylor skied to 40th (+1:54.3) with the 10th fastest ski time of the day.

Day 2

When you’re good, you’re good. That was the case on Day 2 in the individual normal hill/10 k. These names will sound familiar. Rydzek jumped the furthest, with Gruber and Costa tied for second. Yet the difference in distance jumped by the top three was so minimal, they began the ski simultaneously. Frenzel was fourth after the jump and started the ski 4 seconds back.

Rydzek, who completed the 10 k in 24:36.5 minutes, took the win over Frenzel in another photo finish by 0.1 seconds. Costa was third (+11.3), Gruber fourth (+20.8).

Bryan Fletcher was the top American in 18th (+1:43.5). He started off by jumping to 30th, then started the 10 k race 2:11 minutes out of first. Fletcher skied the eighth-fastest time en route to the top 20. Taylor Fletcher ended up 36th (+3:21.5) after skiing the fourth-fastest ski time, moving up from 43rd in the jump. Berend jumped to 37th and finished 42nd (+4:10.5).

Day 3

On tap for Sunday’s Day 3 of the Seefeld Triple was an individual normal hill/15 k. Only the top 30 skiers after Day 2 qualified to contest Sunday’s competition, and that included American Bryan Fletcher. He jumped to 23rd on Sunday and finished the long weekend in 26th overall (+5:52.2). Fletcher’s time back is partially due to a lackluster jump which had him starting the ski 4:18 behind first-place jumper Rydzek.

Running down the names who led after Sunday’s jump was an exercise in redundancy: Rydzek in first, Gruber in second, a new name — Italian Mario Seidl — in third, Frenzel in fourth, Costa in fifth.

This time, no photo finish was required as Frenzel took the victory after two consecutive second places. He finished in 37:32.2 and put 30.5 seconds on Rydzek by the finish. Frenzel had started 20 seconds behind Rydzek.

Rydzek finished second overall (+30.5), Gruber was 1:18.6 back in third, Seidl fourth (+1:19.1), and Costa (+2:18.2) fifth.

Seefeld Triple Results:

Friday’s normal hill/5 k

Saturday’s normal hill/10 k

Sunday’s normal hill/15 k

— Jason Albert

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

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

World Cup Racing Resumes; Fletchers with Fastest Course Times in Chaux-Neuve

Monday, January 25th, 2016

Well-rested from a month off of competition, nordic-combined athletes returned to the World Cup race scene this past weekend in Chaux-Neuve, France.

Saturday saw Germany’s Eric Frenzel take the overall individual hill/10-kilometer race win in a time of 21:26.0. Austrian skier Bernhard Gruber finished in second, (+4.7) and Japan’s Akito Watabe placed third (+6.5).

“It was a very hard race,” said Frenzel in an interview with German broadcaster ARD, “I had to attack early, I guess that wore out my opponents.”

Americans Bryan Fletcher and Taylor Fletcher finished the first day of racing in 19th and 20th, respectively, though Taylor posted the fastest time for the 10-kilometer cross country event, while Bryan’s time was third fastest.

The two U.S. Ski Team members started the cross-country race within 12 seconds of each other. Bryan Fletcher, who jumped to 29th in the morning, cruised out of the 10 k start gate 1:46 after the jump leader Watabe. About a quarter of a minute later, Taylor Fletcher, who jumped to 30th earlier that morning, got on course 1:58 after Watabe. 

Halfway through the five-lap 2 k loop, Taylor caught up to his American teammate and the two raced together to the finish, with Bryan leading most of the way.

“I felt strong and skied a smart race especially considering I was in the front quite a lot during the race pulling a strong group,” said Bryan Fletcher in a USSA press release.

Day 2 of racing on Sunday brought another German to the top of the podium. This time, however, it was Fabian Rießle for the overall win by 2.3 seconds, clocking in at 21:20.5 ahead of teammate Frenzel.

“Before the race I thought about what I would do if the situation arrived [to be in a lead group],” said Rießle in an interview with ARD, “I planned for two different variants. Because I felt very good at the end, I decided on trying a long [escape], because I did not want to get into a finish sprint. Nice that it worked out,” he added.

Frenzel finished Sunday in second overall, while Watabe placed third, 4.1 seconds behind Rießle’s winning mark.

For the Americans, Taylor raced to 21st overall on Sunday, 1:12.2 seconds behind Rießle, while teammate Bryan finished the day in 25th (+1:29.6).

Sunday morning, Taylor jumped to 32nd, putting him on course 1:54 seconds after the jump leader, Magnus Jari-Riiber of Norway. The time deficit didn’t slow the 23-year-old down and once again Taylor proved he was one of the speediest skiers on course, recording the second-fastest time of the day.

Starting just six seconds behind Taylor in the 10 k event was Bryan, who jumped to 38th in the morning, which put him on course 2:01 seconds after Jari-Riiber. Bryan also managed to make up time in the cross-country race, recording the fourth-fastest 10 k time of the day.

Results: Day 1 | Day 2

— Gabby Naranja / Harald Zimmer contributed

Period I World Cup Wraps in Ramsau with Good Signs for Norway

Monday, December 21st, 2015

The first period of nordic combined World Cups wrapped up in Ramsau am Dachstein, Austria, this weekend, with jumping on the HS 98 hill.

In Saturday’s normal hill 10 k, Norway’s Magnus Moan took the win in a photo finish with teammate Magnus Krog. Jarl Magnus Riiber, also of Norway, won the jumping round to start with a lead of 37 seconds over Akito Watabe of Japan, and was able to parlay that into third place and his first World Cup podium in a 10 k.

Bryan Fletcher and Taylor Fletcher of the United States skied up to 26th (+52.7) and 32nd (+1:09.7) after the jumping round, and Adam Loomis placed 30th (+2:02.3).

On Sunday, the field negotiated the same format over again but with very different results: it was Eric Frenzel who took this win, 10.2 seconds ahead of Riiber who had again had the best jumping round of the day. Manuel Faisst of Germany rounded out the podium, just a tenth of a second behind Riiber.

“I am proud this weekend and am looking forward to the rest of the season,” Riiber, an 18-year-old who seems to have just had his big breakthrough, told Norwegian daily Aftenposten.

Taylor Fletcher placed 20th (+49.2) and Bryan Fletcher 26th (+59.1), with Loomis again in 40th (+2:00.5).

“When it rains, it pours!” Bryan Fletcher tweeted after the race. “Fell in the race in Lillehammer, fell in Ramsau, broken pole today. What gives? Be gone 2015. Hello 2016!”

Taylor and Bryan now sit 23rd and 24th in the World Cup standings, even after Taylor Fletcher flew back to the U.S. to compete in the Continental Cup competitions in Utah last weekend before returning to Europe for the World Cup. His effort netted the U.S. team an additional World Cup quota spot.

The World Cup is still looking good for Norway. On top of Riiber’s breakthrough, Krog now leads the World Cup standings by eight points over Fabian Riessle of Germany. Watabe is in third and Frenzel in fourth.

But there’s bad news for every team: the next competitions, slated to be held in Klingenthal, Germany, on January second and third, have been canceled due to lack of snow in central Europe. It’s unlikely that another venue can step up to fill the gap in time, meaning that the next World Cups will be the following weekend in Schonach, Germany.

After competitions in the opening weekend in Ruka, Finland, were canceled due to dangerous wind conditions, this year’s competition season will be short.

Saturday Results

Sunday Results

World Cup Standings

Taylor Fletcher Races Up from 42nd to 13th in Lillehammer

Monday, December 7th, 2015

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