Bryan Fletcher posted the second-fasted cross country time to finish 12th at the FIS Nordic World Cup Nordic Combined in Kuopio, Finland Tuesday. (Getty Images/Agence Zoom-Vianney Thibaut)
KUOPIO, Finland (Feb. 23, 2016) - Johannes Rydzek of Germany skied to a win as the FIS Nordic Combined World Cup tour came back to Kuopio after an absence of 15 years. Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) posted the second fastest cross country time to finish 12th. Brother Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) was 25th.
Bryan Fletcher continued to show improvement in jumping, soaring 118.0 meters to stand 18th after the jump. He started the cross country race a minute, 43 seconds back.
“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.”
Rydzek matched up with jump leader Akito Watabe of Japan early with the two battling the entire 10k. They were followed by a small two-racer chase group then a huge pack, including Fletcher, that hung about a minute back. By 7.5k, Fletcher was starting to move to the front of that pack as the margin dropped to under 40 seconds. With just over a kilometer to go, Fletcher was up to seventh but the gap between his larger chase pack was too great to bridge to the podium group.
The tour now heads to Val di Fiemme, Italy next weekend for a team sprint and two individual events. The tour wraps up the next weekend in Schonach, Germany with a full team event plus two individual competitions, one 10k and one 15k.