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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)

 

***

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

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

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

Watabe Wins The Day In Oslo But Frenzel Takes Overall World Cup Title; Taylor Fletcher Top American in 15th

Sunday, March 15th, 2015

Japan’s Akito Watabe took first in the final World Cup of the season, a 15-kilometer race in Oslo, Norway. With this finish he secured second-place in the overall World Cup standings, behind overall winner Eric Frenzel of Germany, who finished 4th on Saturday (+22.6).

Germany’s Johannes Rydzek took second on Saturday, finishing nine seconds behind Watabe to finish third in the overall standings. Alessandro Pittin, of Italy, took the final spot on the podium (+18.6) after a ferocious ski, making up three minutes over the two 7.5 k laps and posting the fastest time of the day. Pittin finished 11th overall for the season.

Taylor Fletcher was the top American, finishing 21st on Saturday. Fletcher’s strong ski performance, the fourth-fastest of the day, could not make up for a 4:02 start gap after a 27th-ranked jump, and he finished 2:35 behind Watabe. Fletcher finished 27th in the overall standings, the second-ranked American, behind his brother Bryan Fletcher. Bryan Fletcher was the only other American to compete on Saturday, finishing 29th (+5:23.7). His day was sweetened, however, by an overall season finish of 15th, the top result for the U.S.

Results

France Wins World Champs Team Sprint, Lamy Chappuis to Retire; Fletchers 10th for U.S.

Saturday, February 28th, 2015

FALUN, Sweden — Francois Braud and Jason Lamy Chappuis of France catapulted themselves to gold in the 2 x 7.5-kilometer team sprint on Saturday, the last day of nordic combined at the 2015 FIS Nordic World Ski Championships.

With that, the 28-year-old Jason Lamy Chappuis, who defended his team sprint title from 2013 World Championships and won his first gold of these worlds, announced this would be his last season.

“Finishing here in Falun with a world championship title, I think is the best way to finish a career,” he told the Associated Press. “I want these memories like today to be forever in my head.”

Lamy Chappuis added that he plans to finish out the World Cup season in March.

First in the jump, Braud and Lamy Chappuis started the two-man sprint 11 seconds ahead of Japan’s Yoshito Watabe and Akito Watabe in second. Germany’s Eric Frenzel and Johannes Rydzek headed out third, 21 seconds out of first, and Norway’s Magnus Moan and Håvard Klemetsen started with a 44-second deficit in fourth.

The U.S., with Bryan Fletcher and Taylor Fletcher, jumped to 10th of 12 teams and started 2:04 back.

“Not sure how you get minus wind points and a green light in a headwind comp?” U.S. Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett tweeted after the jumping portion.

Amid the softest, slowest conditions of the two-week championships (the course had been re-groomed after the women’s 30 k classic, but didn’t firm up in the warm temperatures), the Fletchers improved to ninth, 1:59.9 behind France with the fifth-fastest team time in the cross-country race.

“Today was racing for pride,” Bryan said in a USSA press release. “I was unlucky on the jump and needed a near perfect jump to have a chance in those conditions. Unfortunately I didn’t have that jump which took Tay and I out of the competition.”
“Taylor and I went out in the race to enjoy the crowd and the atmosphere in the last competition of worlds,” he added. “Falun did a great job hosting the championships and I enjoyed them throughly. I am walking away with a personal best finish and some motivation going into the rest of the season.”

France edged out Germany by 2.7 seconds and Norway took bronze, 19.4 seconds out of first.

Finland’s Ilkka Herola and Jim Haertull finished fourth (+1:04.2), Italy was fifth (+1:18.7) with Samuel Costa and Alessandro Pittin, the Watabe brothers placed sixth (+1:25.7), Austria’s Sepp Schneider and Bernhard Gruber were seventh (+1:40.9), and the Czech Republic was eighth (+1:50.4).

After the U.S., Slovenia placed 10th and Estonia was 11th.

Results

Germany Wins Team Event on Home Turf, U.S. 7th as Berend Debuts

Saturday, January 3rd, 2015
Team Germany used the best jumping round of the day to cruise to a three-second win in the four-man team event as the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup continued after a holiday break in Schonach, Germany.

The German team of Eric Frenzel, Tino Edelmann, Bjorn Kircheisen, and Johannes Rydzek turned in consistent jumping — not a single man went under 100 meters — and then never relinquished the lead over the course of the four 5 k relay legs. Norway came close, moving from fourth after jumping up to second place, just 3.9 seconds back, at the finish. That was thanks to Mikko Kokslien and Joergen Graabak, who turned in the fastest times of the third and fourth legs, respectively. But it wasn’t enough to catch Germany.

France finished third, 12 seconds behind the Germans.

The United States was ranked seventh after jumping and finished seventh at the end of the day as well. Bryan Fletcher started things off in the relay, skiing the second-fastest first-leg time, but the team still dropped to eighth place (the fastest opening leg was skied by Armin Bauer of Italy, whose team had been in eighth after jumping). Next came Ben Berend, making his World Cup debut, then Adam Loomis. It was anchor skier Taylor Fletcher who moved the team back into seventh, dropping the Czech Republic team on his way.

“Couldn’t ask for a better team,” Berend tweeted after the competition. “We fought through a downpour of rain today but still managed to have a lot of fun.”

Racing continues in Schonach on Sunday with a normal-hill competition.

Final results

Germany’s Rydzek Wins Ruka Opener, Fletcher Brothers Lead U.S.

Sunday, November 30th, 2014

Germany’s Johannes Rydzek kicked off the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup season on Saturday with a first-place finish in Ruka (Kuusamo), Finland, with a combined time of 25:32.0. Austrian Bernhard Gruber (+1.0) and Czech Miroslav Dvorak (+6.1) were second and third, respectively.

Bryan Fletcher was the top American, finishing 17th (+1:10.0). In Friday’s provisional jump, Fletcher placed 32nd, a result that a USST press release called “disappointing”. After high winds canceled Saturday’s jump, the provisional jump was used for Saturday’s competition. Fletcher made up for his jump with a strong cross-country leg, posting the sixth-fastest time of the day, steaming the 10-kilometer course in 24:36.9 for 17th overall.

Fletcher was not the only one in his family that had redemption to find on the nordic course: his brother Taylor was in 59th after Friday’s jumping, but poured on the afterburners on the ski leg and managed to post the second-fastest time of the day, 24:11.9. He finished 36th overall, 2:53 behind first-place Rydzek.

Rounding out the American finishes was Adam Loomis in 44th (+3:39.2) and Brett Denney in 62nd (+7:28.6). No Canadians entered Saturday’s competition.

Results