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Two Days in Sapporo: Germany’s Kircheisen Wins Day 1, Watabe Day 2

Monday, February 13th, 2017

Germany’s Björn Kircheisen (bib 4) placed first in Friday’s Nordic Combined World Cup competition in Sapporo, Japan. Akito Watabe (bib 2) from Japan was second, and Norwegian Mikko Kokslien (bib 17) third. (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined/Twitter)

FIS Nordic Combined World Cup (Sapporo, Japan)

With a hop, skip and a jump (emphasis on the jump), the Nordic Combined World Cup made its way from PyeongChang, South Korea, to Sapporo, Japan, last week. Last Friday and Saturday, Feb. 10-11, the Sapporo nordic complex hosted two days of jumping and skiing.

Friday’s individual gundersen large hill/10 k began with a Japanese skier flying the furthest: Hisaki Nagamine jumped 136 meters and earned 135.9 points. Two Japanese teammates were second and third after the jumping: Akito Watabe was second with 129.1 points and Taihei Kato third with 125.5 points.

10 k later on the ski tracks and the skier who placed fourth in the jump and started 42 seconds back, Germany’s Björn Kircheisen, won the overall after completing the 10 k in 25:59.3. Watabe, who began 27 seconds behind Nagamine, placed second. In third was Norwegian Mikko Kokslien (+32.1). Kokslien placed 17th in the jump and started 1:40 back — he skied the second fastest ski time on the day.

Two Americans contested the event. Adam Loomis jumped to 38th and skied up to 31st (+3:59.2). Jasper Good was 35th after the jump and slipped a spot in the ski to place 36th overall (+4:35.7).

Japan’s Akito Watabe (c) celebrates his Day 2 win in Sapporo, Japan. Switzerland’s Tim Hug (l) placed second, and Germany’s Manual Faisst (r) placed third. (Photo: FIS Nordic Combined/Twitter)

Saturday’s competition was also an individual large hill/10 k up for grabs. Off the hill, again Nagamine set the benchmark after flying 138 meters and earning 128.8 points. German Manual Faisst placed second with 127.7 points, and Norwegian Håvard Klemetsen was third with 124.7 points.

The day’s ultimate winner, Watabe jumped to fourth, starting the ski race 25 seconds back. He finished in 25:55.9, after posting the fifth-fastest 10 k time of the day. Switzlerland’s Tim Hug, after jumping to fifth and starting 32 seconds behind Nagamine in the 10 k, placed second (+4.0). Faisst completed the podium in third (+12.3).

Good jumped to 33rd and finished 34th (+4:28.1). Loomis ranked 38th after the jump and skied up to 36th (+5:06.9).

The Sapporo World Cup was the last regular-season event before 2017 World Championships take place in Lahti, Finland, with nordic-combined competitions from Feb. 24-March 3.

Results: Day 1 | Day 2

Bryan Fletcher 13th in Val di Fiemme; Adam Loomis, Jasper Good Land Top 10’s in Ruka

Monday, January 16th, 2017

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.

Results:

Friday’s individual large hill/10 k

Saturday’s 2 x 7.5 k team event

Sunday’s individual large hill/10 k

***

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.

Results: Saturday | Sunday

Getting ready to compete on this mammoth this weekend! #skijumping #ruka #fisnoco #usanordic #hshive PC: @skiloomis

A photo posted by Jasper Good (@jaspergoody) on

Taylor Fletcher Captures First National Title at SoHo: ‘I’m just ecstatic’

Monday, August 1st, 2016
The leaders are shoulder to shoulder heading into the final lap at the L.L.Bean U.S. Nordic Combined Championships. (USSA-Tom Kelly)

Bryan Fletcher (c) leads Taylor Fletcher (l) and Ben Berend heading into the final lap of the L.L.Bean U.S. Nordic Combined Championship on Saturday at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah. (Photo: USSA/Tom Kelly)

(Press release)

MIDWAY, Utah (July 30, 2016) – Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) broke away from the pack with a kilometer remaining to take his first national title at the L.L.Bean U.S. Nordic Combined Championship at Soldier Hollow. Brother Bryan Fletcher took silver with Ben Berend (Steamboat Springs, CO) earning bronze after leading the jump.

In the morning HS134 meter jump at the Utah Olympic Park, Berend threw down the gauntlet with a towering 125.0 meter jump to take a 17 second lead over Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) of the Flying Eagles Ski Club who went 122.5 meters. Bryan Fletcher found himself 26 seconds back, with Adam Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) 52 seconds out, two seconds ahead of Taylor Fletcher.

“This is, by far, some of the best jumping we’ve had as a team,” Taylor said. “I had a rough trial and was able to get that away. [Jumping Coach] Nick [Huber] told me to just go for it and be aggressive. I was extremely happy to put together a good jump for the competition round. That makes my job easier on the cross country course.”

Head Coach Dave Jarrett echoed the team strength on the jumps. “It was good to see everyone jumping pretty well. For us to be relatively close to the special jumpers is a good sign for July.”

Young Stephen Schumann (Park City, UT) was a strong sixth. Jasper Good (Steamboat Springs, CO) had trouble with his jump and stood seventh, a minute, 49 seconds behind Berend.

Heading into the evening 10k cross country leg at Soldier Hollow, Taylor knew he had to act quickly to get ahead of Adam Loomis. The four-lap course featured the longer laps first and last, with shorter legs in the middle. Temperatures moderated a bit, but it was still a hot and steamy Utah evening on the grueling Olympic course.

“I’ve been skiing really strong all summer,” Taylor said. “I knew if I was fresher than the other guys I could put some time on the field on Hermod’s. I paid the price a little bit early on. When I caught Bryan and Ben I sat in a little bit — I hate to do that, but that’s how you win races.”

Taylor went to work on Adam Loomis on lap one, putting in a gap and working his way up to Bryan still 25 seconds ahead. Berend, meanwhile, set a strong pace but knew the Fletchers were coming. By mid race, the threesome had packed up and were screaming around the corners and staying evening on the uphills. Eventually, they all knew that the legendary Hermod’s would make it or break it.

On the final lap, the Fletcher brothers broke away from Berend. Now it was just the two of them. On the final climb of Hermod’s, Taylor put on the gas and gapped his older brother. Coming into the finish, he jubilantly threw up his hands in victory – earning a first-ever national title.

“It’s nice to have that title finally,” he said. “The last few years I’ve been second or third, it’s a lot nicer to be on the top. I’m just ecstatic to say I’m national champion for the first time.”

Ben Berend paved the way, leading in the morning jump. (USSA-Tom Kelly)

Ben Berend paved the way, leading the morning jump at the 2016 U.S. Nordic Combined Championship at Utah Olympic Park in Park City, Utah. (Photo: USSA/Tom Kelly)

The event was a milestone, too, for Berend. “It was truly an incredible day,” he said. “I was really confident going into the jumping competition as that has always been my strength. So when I won the jumping, that’s when the nerves really set in.”

An established jumper, cross-country has been a big training focus for the Steamboat Springs native. “Ben had a great race,” Jarrett said. “He managed the cross-country race well. He’s been working hard and deserves a good performance.”

“This spring I sat down with many of my leaders such as Dave Jarrett, Jon Schafer [High Performance Director] and Dave Cieslowski [Physical Therapist]. Between all these amazing people I got enough info to really formulate a plan to improve. It seemed like in the race, everything I’ve been working on just came together.”

Berend went out hard, turning a strong first lap time. He held his own through the midway point before he heard the Fletchers coming on hard.

“Going into the last hill I was still right with them,” Berend said. “For a slight moment a thought crossed into my mind, ‘I’m going to try and beat these guys.’ Pretty much at that second, the Bryan and Taylor absolutely took off and left me limping along in their dust. I feel like that result was a major barrier that I needed to break down. It was truly a dream come true to stand on that podium with my mentors and best friends.”

The L.L.Bean U.S. Nordic Combined Championships was the kickoff to what will be a busy August for the team. USA Nordic Sport is sending the entire team to Europe for training and Grand Prix competition. It’s a vital step in an important World Championship season.

RESULTS
L.L.Bean U.S. Nordic Combined Championship
Utah Olympic Park – Soldier Hollow

Jumping Results

Official Final Results

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

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

Fletchers Top-20 in Oberwiesenthal Grand Prix

Monday, August 31st, 2015

Americans Taylor and Bryan Fletcher teamed up for an 11th-place showing in the two-man team sprint on Saturday, before taking individual top-20’s in the 10 k competition at the summer Grand Prix in Oberwiesenthal, Germany.

“For the race I have to be happy,” Taylor Fletcher said of Saturday’s team sprint, in a U.S. Ski Team press release. “It was our first race of the year and it’s always hard to know where you stand against the European teams as we have no contact at all until these comps.”

Austria’s Harald Lemmerer and Bernhard Gruber won the team competition by 13.2 seconds over countrymen David Pommer and Mario Seidl.

The Fletchers had been ranked 13th after jumping, but moved up in the rollerski portion through the Oberwiesenthal streets. The second U.S. team of Ben Berend and Jasper Good finished 22nd.

On Sunday, Gruber was disqualified for an early start in the rollerski pursuit, and instead of the Austrians it was Germans who dominated. Eric Frenzel had the best jump and coasted to an 11.3-second win over Johannes Rydzek, with Fabian Riessle completing a podium sweep for the home team.

Taylor Fletcher skied from 29th up to 12th after the jump, thanks to the second-fastest ski time, and Bryan Fletcher moved from 27th to 19th.

“The race was in the heart of the city, which is always very fun with a good amount of people that come to watch,” Taylor Fletcher said in the press release. “I started pretty close to how I wanted and not like I always do too which is too hard at the beginning. I think my middle lap may have been pretty hard which killed me for the last lap but I went hard till 150 meters when all I could think about was a cold shower and getting out of the 33C [91 F] heat.”

Adam Loomis placed 28th and Michael Ward 29th to round out the U.S. scoring. Ward had the fourth-fastest ski time of the day, moving up from 46th after the jump.

Extremely happy with my performance today at my first Summer Grand Prix,” he wrote on Instagram. “It was a personal best and I hope there is more to come!”

Results: Saturday / Sunday

Bryan Fletcher Defends National Title with Large-Hill Win in Park City

Monday, August 3rd, 2015

 

Bryan Fletcher tucks around a high-speed corner at Soldier Hollow en route to a repeat national title at the U.S. Nordic Combined Championships in Midway, Utah. (USSA/Tom Kelly)

Bryan Fletcher tucks around a high-speed corner at Soldier Hollow en route to a repeat national title at the U.S. Nordic Combined Championships in Midway, Utah. (Photo: USSA/Tom Kelly)

Bryan Fletcher notched his second-straight national title on Saturday at the U.S. Nordic Combined Championships at Soldier Hollow in Midway, Utah.

After posting the farthest jump on the 134-meter large hill at Utah Olympic Park, Fletcher, 29, started first (with a 26-second head start) in the cross-country rollerski race and held off U.S. Nordic Combined teammate Adam Loomis, 23, for the win. As he crossed the finish line five seconds ahead of Loomis, Fletcher made a point for a mini celebration.

The podium at the 2015 U.S. Nordic Combined Championships, which were held in Park City and Midway, Utah: with winner Bryan Fletcher (c), second-place finisher Adam Loomis (l) and Taylor Fletcher in third. (Photo: Dave Jarrett/Twitter)

The podium at the 2015 U.S. Nordic Combined Championships, which were held in Park City and Midway, Utah: with winner Bryan Fletcher (c), second-place finisher Adam Loomis (l) and Taylor Fletcher in third. (Photo: Dave Jarrett/Twitter)

“It was a little close there at the end,” Fletcher told Steamboat Today. “Coming up to the stadium it was a little bit of a sprint to make sure I had a comfortable distance, but then it was getting in a good celebration and pump for the crowd and for me to excitedly celebrate winning the race.”

Fletcher remains the only active U.S. team member to hold a national title. He won last year’s championships in Lake Placid, N.Y.  His younger brother, Taylor, placed third on Saturday, finishing 47 seconds after Bryan after starting 1 minute and 4 seconds behind.

“Going into the race I knew I could come home with the victory if I paced it right,” Fletcher said. “I was able to hold off Adam and Taylor who were charging and coming up behind me fast. I knew it was coming in hot. Going into the stadium on the last lap, I knew once I made it over the top of the hill that I had it in the bag.”

U.S. Nordic Combined members Michael Ward, Jasper Good and Ben Berend placed fourth through sixth, respectively. Fifteen men completed the race.

 

Complete results

 

Moan Wins in Trondheim; Taylor Fletcher Skis from 44th to 14th (with Video)

Friday, March 13th, 2015

Norway’s Magnus Moan overcame a 30-second starting deficit to take the lead two kilometers into Thursday’s 10-kilometer individual race and win his 24th career World Cup in Trondheim, Norway.

Moan jumped to 10th on the large hill and posted the fourth-fastest ski time en route to the win in 24:22.9. He bested Germany’s Fabian Riessle, who started eighth and finished second, by 13.3 seconds and Italy’s Alessandro Pittin, who jumped to 21st and skied the third-fastest 10 k for third, by 18.2 seconds.

With the Overall World Cup title under wraps, Eric Frenzel of Germany led after the jump and ended up 10th (+42.9).

Taylor Fletcher of the U.S. skied up from 44th and 2:04 back to 14th (+1:14.5) with the fastest ski time.

“I was so close to having excellent day,” Fletcher tweeted on Thursday. “I was a little to [sic] aggressive after the takeoff that killed the jump, but I had a hell of a xc race!”

His brother Bryan Fletcher jumped to 41st and placed 25th (+1:37.9) with the seventh-fastest ski time. The third American, Adam Loomis finished 31st (+2:04) after ranking 45th in the jump and 12th in the 10 k.

The Nordic Combined World Cup concludes Saturday with a final individual competition in Oslo, Norway.

Results

U.S. Nordic Combined Seventh in World Champs 4 x 5 k Team Event

Sunday, February 22nd, 2015
Taylor Fletcher en route to the fastest tim of the second leg of the team gundersen 4 x 5 k at the 2015 FIS  Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. (photo: flying pointroad)

Taylor Fletcher (8) en route to the fastest time of the second leg of the team Gundersen 4 x 5 k at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships in Falun, Sweden. (Photo: FlyingPointRoad.com)

FALUN, Sweden — The U.S. Nordic Combined squad jumped to eighth and skied to seventh overall in Sunday’s 4 x 5-kilometer team event at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.

Going into the cross-country portion ranked eighth after the 100-meter jump hill, the four-man U.S. team, consisting of Bryan Fletcher, Taylor Fletcher, Adam Loomis, and Billy Demong attempted to make up time on the German leaders who started 1:39 ahead of them.  The American squad was unable to make up ground on the leaders, but moved up to seventh place over the course of the relay.

Bryan Fletcher notched the second-fastest time in the relay’s first leg, while his brother Taylor clocked the fastest time of the second leg. The U.S. stuck with Italy for much of the race, and was advancing on the rest of the competition until Italy charged ahead in the final 5 k.

Germany convincingly won the race with a time of 44:20.7 and was followed by Norway (+23.1) and France (+39.6). Third in the team event at 2013 World Championships, the U.S. finished 2:37.8 back from the winners on Sunday.

Results