“Today was a good day. There was not much wind on the hill – pretty clear weather and cold conditions,” Bryan Fletcher told FasterSkier after finishing 15th in the provisional jumping round of the nordic combined World Cup in Ramsau, Austria. “All in all…I am happy with where I ended up overall.”
Todd Lodwick led the way for the Americans in the jumping Friday, finishing fourth. The results from the provisional round are used if the weather is too inconsistent for a fair competition on Saturday. And if the forecast comes true, high winds and snow are on the horizon for Ramsau.
The Austrian venue comes with its own set of challenges, Fletcher says, noting that both the hill and the course are difficult.
“The jumping is on a small hill and the cross-country course is a tough, tough course. The small hill will bunch everyone together, making the race a bigger part of the game,” Fletcher predicted.
“The weather for the weekend looks a little windy, so there is a better chance we could use the provisional this weekend then previous weekends. We’ll see how it looks in the morning, though. I am prepared and hoping to improve upon what I was able to do today,” Fletcher said.
Psyched about jumps
US Nordic Combined Head Coach Dave Jarrett was content with the provisional jumping.
“We are psyched with Todd and Bryan’s results on the hill today but know that Eric [Camerota], Nick [Hendrickson], and Taylor [Fletcher] can be better and will be better,” Jarrett said, adding that for his team, a new jumping round could be beneficial.
“It’s snowing pretty good here now, so we will see if today’s [provisional jump] will be used on Saturday or Sunday. It can only be used once. I know Todd and Bryan wouldn’t mind, but the other three want two more shots on the hill. We will prepare for another comp tomorrow and see what happens,” Jarrett said. “This is the World Cup and if you want to be high in the results you have to jump well in the competitions.”
Jarrett knows Lodwick is capable of podium finishes, and that Bryan Fletcher’s 15th was a good result for him. Not surprisingly, Jason Lamy-Chappuis (FRA) won the provisional round with a jump of 96.5 meters, with Bernhard Grueber (AUT) in second place (95 meters) and Espen Rian (NOR) in third (93 meters). Camerota was 33rd, Taylor Fletcher 57th and Hendrickson 61st.
For Fletcher, the good provisional round gave him some confidence for the coming races, and a confirmation that he is on track in terms of his own goals.
“I am feeling confident going into the weekend. Since this weekend will pretty much mark the halfway point in our season, my goals are set at scoring points again,” Bryan Fletcher told FasterSkier. Establishing himself among the top 30 in World Cup competitions has been Fletcher’s aim, and he is sticking to it.
“I am not raising my expectations, just because the year started off the way I wanted. This weekend, I am simply focusing on doing what I need to do, just to stay in the game. I know I am capable of being in there both days, and I am going to do my best to make that happen,” he said.
Inge is FasterSkier's international reporter, born and bred in Norway. A cross-country ski racer and mountain runner, she also dabbles on two wheels in the offseason. If it's steep and long, she loves it. Follow her on Twitter: @IngeScheve.