Bryan Fletcher, shown here battling it out with France's Jason Lamy-Chappuis in Chaux-Neuve in Jan., led the Americans. (Jeff Pachoud/AFP/Getty Images)
VAL DI FIEMME, Italy (Feb. 3) – Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) led the Americans Friday, finishing 14th after jumping to 10th and incurring one penalty lap in the new-this-season format. Teammates Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) and Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) closed 18th and 22nd respectively, each making up two penalty laps at the site of the 2013 World Championships. France's Jason Lamy-Chappuis redeemed himself with a victory after the tour's last stop in Chaux-Neuve mid-Jan. left him disappointed in front of a hometown crowd.
Bryan Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) jumped 125 meters to 10th, gained one penalty lap and finished 14th.
Fletcher skied his penalty lap early in the competition.
Johnny Spillane (Steamboat Springs, CO) jumped to 18th while Billy Demong (Vermontville, NY) was 25th after the jump.
Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO), coming off a successful Continental Cup with a first and third in Klingenthal, Germany, did not make the cut to competition after the provisional competition round.
Americans have had success in Val di Fiemme when Johnny Spillane was crowned World Champion in 2003 and Billy Demong won a World Cup in 2010.
Today's competition acts as a makeup from the canceled Zakopane races from late Jan.
Penalty race format is new this season. Athletes are given a number of penalty laps from 0 to 4 to be completed during the cross country portion of the competition based on how far they are able to jump. Jumps are based just on distance in the penalty race format.
World Cup weekend continues in Val di Fiemme, site of the 2013 World Championships, tomorrow with a team sprint.
QUOTES Dave Jarrett, Nordic Combined Head Coach Billy and Bryan tried to take the race from the start and both of them admitted they paid for it later in the race. They took a chance and that's what you have to do sometimes to win. Bryan was as high as sixth but faded. Johnny has been sick for the last two weeks and is slowly feeling better. All-in-all a pretty good day but still not all the way there.