Taylor Fletcher tags off to Nick Hendrickson for the anchor lap in a near dead heat with France in the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup at Soldier Hollow. (USSA/Tom Kelly)
SOLDIER HOLLOW, UT (Dec. 10) - The U.S. Ski Team's Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Nick Hendrickson (Park City, UT) came from behind to strike the podium in a three way battle with France and Germany in a team sprint Saturday at Soldier Hollow. Germany's Michael Duenkel anchored his team to victory, pulling away from France's Geoffrey Lafarge on the final hill with team USA taking third. The series continues with another individual event Sunday. Fletcher was second in Friday's competition.
Another strong day for the USA with three teams in the top 10
Erik Lynch (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Michael Ward (Aspen, CO) sixth; Brett Denney (Steamboat Springs, CO) and Adam Loomis (Eau Claire, WI) seventh.
Slovenia 1 led the jump with the winning Germany 1 starting 43 seconds back. France 1 was 1:02 back with USA 1 starting 14th 1:43 out.
The race was contested on a 1.4k loop of manmade snow at Soldier Hollow.
Germany, France and the USA were literally in a dead heat going into the final lap.
Action concludes Sunday with a final individual event.
The cancelled races from Lake Placid will no longer be held in Soldier Hollow; no word on a new location.
QUOTES Michael Dunkel - Germany It was a fantastic race for us. We jumped great and were very good on the track.
I could hear France behind me on the last lap so I attacked on the last hill.
Mark Schlott - Germany The jumping was very good for us and we gave our best on the track and it was enough for a victory.
Geoffrey Lafarge - France It was a very good race today - nice weather and nice snow. The team sprint is very interesting.
Samuel Guy - France Today was a very good day for me it was the first podium with a friend and it's very difficult to do a good job and I'm very happy.
Taylor Fletcher - USA We were both closer than we were in the individual to the front so we definitely had a good chance. Being at high altitude and doing intervals here all summer long we were able to put in good laps and recover faster than the European teams.
I wanted to go out hard and fast and recover quickly, Nick wanted to do kind of the opposite. He wanted to have a strong finish and I wanted to have a strong start. It worked out pretty well.
This is my first team event on winter snow in many years. It's always fun to do them and a little bit different than a four-man team because you're always pushing the pace - fast and furious.
Nick Hendrickson - USA It's always important to have a strong team showing. But it also feels good to be on a team event where you can ski really fast and feel good as an individual racer.
Our strategy was to ski crazy fast, go for broke. Unfortunately we didn't quite have the speed at the end of the race.
I definitely been in a few situations with him (Michael Dunkel) before and Lafarge from France on the last laps of races and those guys are always hard to contend with at the end. All of us want it really badly. Unfortunately today Taylor and I really jumped ourselves out of the competition a little bit so we had to put in a lot more work to get up to the front of the race.