Bryan Fletcher records strong World Cup finish
While international Nordic combined athletes raced laps in his hometown, Steamboat Springs skier Bryan Fletcher came through with one of his best World Cup performances of the last several seasons on Saturday.
Fletcher, one of three U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team athletes to skip the Steamboat Continental Cup, placed seventh on Saturday in Ramsau, Austria.
He followed that up with a 14th-place finish Sunday.
Saturday, Fletcher endured curious jumping conditions — he was pulled off the bar twice before finally being forced to jump from a lower bar as strong winds swirled — before jumping to 28th place.
“It was a little disappointing to see Bryan pull off the bar because the conditions were really good,” said coach Martin Bayer in a USA Nordic news release. “But that’s how things go. He held his nerves and put himself in a really good position.”
From there, he worked his way into the lead chase group in the 10-kilometer race.
“Going into the fourth lap, I found myself leading the chase,” Fletcher said in the news release. “I really didn’t want to be in the front, but I knew that if we backed off and played games, the whole group of 25 would be in the fight. I took a few deep breaths, put my head down and went all out.”
In the end, he had the day’s second-fastest ski time and a big result heading into a break from the World Cup.
“Bryan skied a smart race today,” Bayer said in the release. “He had good skiers around him and had a good plan going into the race. We had good strategy and good skis; the whole team came together today and the result was a seventh for Bryan.”
Taylor Fletcher also had his best result of the season at the event, though that came Sunday. He’s struggled mightily with jumping so far this winter, and did again Sunday, flying to 58th place in a 59-jumper event. He made up a lot of ground in the ski race, however, laying down the day’s second-fastest time to move all the way up to 34th position.
Adam Loomis jumped to 59th and placed 52nd.
Next up for the team is the Olympic trials, set for Dec. 30 and 31 in Park City.