Nordic

Fletcher Takes Austrian to the Line

by
USSA
2015-12-12 17:02
 

SOLDIER HOLLOW, UT (Dec. 12, 2015) - Austria's David Pommer made it two in a row Saturday, but only by the slimmest of margins. Pommer solidified his FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup lead by a mere tenth of a second over a hard-charging Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO), who was second. Italian Armin Bauer was third with U.S. junior Ben Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) having a career best fourth.

It was a second straight powerhouse day for the Americans, with three in the top six and four in the top eight with Michael Ward (Aspen, CO) sixth and Ben Berend (Steamboat Springs, CO) eighth. Jasper Good (Steamboat Springs, CO) was 18th and Stephen Schumann (Salt Lake City) 27th for his second straight points-scoring finish.

In the morning jumping round at the Utah Olympic Park, Japan's Hisaki Nagamine again led with a 96.5 meter ride. Norway's Audun Hokholt was second, followed by two Americans - Loomis and Berend. Loomis, who flew 96.0 meters, started only eight seconds back in cross country and hung with the leaders the entire race, narrowly missing his first podium by only four seconds.

Pommer, who started 46 seconds back but in seventh place, wasted no time moving up through the pack. By mid race, he was controlling the pace and seemingly pulling away. But Fletcher, who was well back with a minute, 40 second deficit, was on fire. Fletcher, who was only third fastest on Friday after cramping up on lap four, kept the pressure on setting the fastest cross country time - 54 seconds faster than Pommer.

"My coaches told me Taylor was coming but I didn't see him until the final corner," said Pommer. Indeed, the American caught the Austrian by surprise and was within a meter by the finish.

The Continental Cup will wrapup on Sunday with jumping scheduled to begin at 9:30 a.m. with a trial and comp round, then the 10k cross country at Soldier Hollow at 2:00 p.m. Snow began falling Saturday evening and may impact Sunday's competition. Knowing the snow was coming, officials tried to run a provisional competition round jump Saturday morning but tricky winds forced cancelation.

 

Ben Loomis celebrates a career best fourth, just four seconds off the podium. (U.S. Ski Team - Tom Kelly)

 

HIGHLIGHTS

  • Austrian David Pommer collected his second career Continental Cup victory to lead the tour after two events.
  • American Taylor Fletcher closed a one minute, 40 second gap to nearly catch Pommer at the finish.
  • The Americans had six in the points (top 30) including three in the top six and four in the top eight.
  • Austria's Bernhard Flaschberger, who was second on Friday, was disqualified after the jump for a suit violation.
  • The event wraps up Sunday with a final round of jumping at the Utah Olympic Park and cross country at Soldier Hollow. Snow is forecast.

QUOTES
David Pommer

I fought from the beginning by running a really good pace. But my coaches kept telling me Taylor was getting closer and closer. At the finish line, I was very lucky with my win - I’m glad it wasn’t one more meter. There was never any contact until the finish and I thought, ‘run, run.’

In Austria it’s important to qualify for the World Cup team and I’m in a good position now so I’m very happy.
 
Taylor Fletcher
We had some tough conditions on the hill that was very challenging for me. I had a good jumup but the wind wasn’t on my side, but that’s the way it is in an outdoor sport. I knew it would be a close race. I decided I had to go for it. I wanted to ski easy the first lap or so and make up some time but not push the pace too much. I did that and was making up 16 seconds a lap, which is pretty good, but I just ran out of real estate. But I can’t be disappointed in that because I skied tactically almost a perfect race - there was no one close to me time wise. I’ll take it in stride and build on it for tomorrow
 
What we’ve seen today is a huge step forward for our team. To see what these juniors are doing is outstanding Ben Loomis is a young kid who is full of potential. Ben Berend stayed right even with the best guys. They can be very proud of what they’ve done so far. Tomorrow they can reach for a little bit more.
 
Armin Bauer
Today I jumped quite fine. But with the cross country it was very tough but I had great skis - I was very fast on the last lap. I tried to start pretty fast and tried to catch the third and fourth place skiers.

RESULTS
Individual Gundersen 10k

Michael Ward continued his strong weekend finishing sixth. (U.S. Ski Team - Tom Kelly)