(Last updated March 16, 2013)
In July 2012, the guys combined three activities, training, biking, and watching the Tour de France. You can read more, on Billy's blog.
Todd skipped most of the 2011-12 World Cup season, but he wasn't home eating bon-bons and watching TV. Quite the reverse -- in early August, Todd proved that he's in shape and skiing well, winning the National Nordic Combined Championships in Park City, the 20th National crown of Lodwick's long and illustrious career.
Two weeks later, Lodwick led the new big five (the big three plus the two Fletcher brothers) on a quick trip to Sochi, Russia, site of the upcoming Olympics, for the first Summer Grand Prix, where he scored second place on Saturday, then stepped up to first place in the Sunday event. Billy followed in seventh place on Saturday and Johnny matched that with a 7th place on Sunday. See results for Saturday or Sunday from Sochi.
The host Norwegians enjoyed home cooking as Magnus Moan starting back in eighth position made up 68 seconds to win the opening Gundersen normal-hill sprint event. Top U.S. finisher was Lodwick who demonstrated good physical condition as he moved up from 40th in the jumping to finish 24th. Taylor Fletcher also moved up 16 places as he turned in the day's fastest time in the cross-country race to finish in 30th. Bryan Fletcher finished 36th and Demong followed in 43rd.
The boys struggled in Sunday's penalty race in Lillehammer, with Bryan Fletcher finishing 19th in the jumping but the other three missing the cut to the top 30 in jumping. Bryan held on for a 22nd place finish and nine World Cup points. Magnus Moan won his second event in a row, followed by Lamy Chappuis and Klemetsen.
Dec 1, Kuusamo FIN Bryan Fletcher notched a 14th place finish by jumping to 11th, then joining a large racing group until the final climb of the cross country race. Brother Taylor Fletcher was disqualified for a jumping suit violation while Lodwick and Demong did not qualify in the top 50. Defending World Cup champion Jason Lamy Chappuis won the jump, then held off Bryan's 13 man chase group to win the event and move into the lead in World Cup points. Sunday the U.S. will enter two 2-man teams in a relay event.
Dec 2 in Kuusamo Bryan & Taylor Fletcher teamed up to jump into nineth place, then joined a small racing group in a two man cross-country sprint, each man running 7.5 km, and finished nineth. A second team of Demong and Lodwick did not jump.
The events scheduled for Dec 8-9 in Erzurum, Turkey were canceled early so Billy took the opportunity to fly back to Park City to be with his family and train on his home hill. It was a short break as he hurried back for the next competition in Ramsau, AUT.
Dec 15 in Ramsau Bryan Fletcher jumped into sixth place and raced well, making up a few seconds and finishing eighth. Bill Demong and Taylor Fletcher started the XC race in 33rd and 37th, 72 & 75 seconds back, respectively, but moved up aggressively. Taylor finished 10th and Billy 16th. Magnus Moan of Norway jumped to third, then ran away with the race. Moan's win moved him into the World Cup lead ahead of defending champion Lamy Chappuis.
Sunday in Schonach brought a Normal Hill Gundersen event. Bryan Fletcher finished 22nd with brother Taylor in 26th and Lodwick in 32nd. Bill Demong missed qualifying by one spot and Johnny Spillane missed by eight.
Sat, Jan 12, Chaux-Neuve, France -- Organizers swapped the two planned events, moving the team sprint to Sunday and holding a conventional Gundersen race on Saturday. Taylor Fletcher recorded the day's fastest XC race, moving up from 35th to finish in 10th place. Lodwick finished 29th and Bryan Fletcher followed in 31st. Demong missed qualifying in the top 50.
Sat, Jan 19, Seefeld AUT -- After failing two weeks in a row to qualify among the top 50 jumpers, Billy was replaced by young Michael Ward in the start list for Saturday's Gundersen event. Neither Ward nor Johnny Spillane qualified in the top 50 so they cheered on the sidelines as their three teammates all moved up in the 10 km cross country race and scored World Cup points. Top qualifier Taylor Fletcher started in 28th position, 1:36 behind the top jumper Bernhard Gruber (AUT), but Taylor is fast. He soon worked his way up to join a good working group containing Norwegian strongmen Magnus Moan and Mikko Kokslien, and that group steadily pushed past slower skiers. In the end Moan finished second and Kokslien fourth. Fletcher placed a career-best fifth, two seconds off the podium, and again recorded the day's fastest cross country race. Brother Bryan Fletcher jumped to 35th and moved up to 24th, while Todd Lodwick jumped to 41st and raced up to finish 29th.
Sun, Jan 27, Bryan Fletcher placed 7th in the jumping phase of the day's penalty race, incurring two penalty laps. Bryan raced well and finished eighth. Bill Demong jumped to 24th place and had to complete four penalty laps but he ran hard and finished in 12th. Taylor Fletcher and Johnny Spillane both missed the cut, which was to only the top 25 skiers. Eric Frenzel won again, winning both the jump and the XC, and stretched his lead in the World Cup race.
Mon, Jan 28, the USST announced the Nordic Combined team for the World Championships in Val di Fiemme, Feb 20-28. The big five, Demong, Spillane, Lodwick and two Fletcher brothers, will be joined by young Michael Ward. Read more on the USST web site.
Sochi RUS, Sat, Feb 2, Bryan Fletcher continued his good skiing, jumping to 10th place while his brother Taylor placed 15th. In the cross country race, Taylor soon made up the 18 second difference to Bryan and the two skied together through the middle of the race, moving past several competitors. Taylor finished fifth while Bryan slowed at the end to drift back to 15th. Bill Demong started 44th, more than three minutes back but raced well, moving up to 28th. Johnny Spillane didn't qualify.
Bernhard Gruber (AUT) won the event and moved past Magnus Moan (NOR) into third in World Cup standings.
Almaty (KAZ), Sat, Feb 9, the U.S. boys skipped the events in Almaty (KAZ) in order to prepare for the World Championships Feb 21 to Mar 2 in Val di Fiemme (ITA). Bjorn Kierkeisen won Saturday's Gundersen event over Watabe and Bieler but the standings remained unchanged at the top. Sunday will see another Gundersen race.
Bronze for Team USA -- Feb 24 -- The race of the day was a Team Sprint relay (NH with 4x5 k XC). The U.S. boys jumped well and started the XC race fifth, 62 seconds behind Japan with France, Austria and Norway in between. In the first timing segment of 1.3 km, leadoff man Taylor Fletcher, one of the fastest skiers on the World Cup tour, caught Norwegian Graabak and pulled to under 40 seconds behind Yoshito Watabe. Norway and USA continued to work together and make up time on the leaders. By the first tag at 5 km, Austria had taken the lead with NOR & FRA at 6 seconds and JAP & USA at 10 seconds back. Now it was Bryan Fletcher's turn to do battle, and he fought well as USA, FRA, NOR & JAP formed a group and worked together through the second leg. Bryan tagged off to veteran Todd Lodwick and the same four nations worked together, pulling up to the leading Austrian Lucas Klapfer by the last tag. Now it was a leading group of five with Bill Demong pushing the pace and leading through the next three timing points. At the end Chappuis of France outsprinted Moan of Norway and USA (Demong) held off Japan for the bronze medal. Austria finished fifth, just 7.6 sec behind the winner -- an exciting race. [ See results.]
Feb 28 -- Eric Frenzel of Germany dominated the field to win the LH NC World Championship in Val di Fiemme. The World Cup points leader won the jump, then started the XC with a 14 second lead and steadily pulled away from the field, achieving a lead of a minute-plus before letting up in the final kilometers and winning by 36 second. Bernhard Gruber came out of the large chase pack to win the sprint for second, followed by Jason Lamy-Chappuis. Bill Demong led the U.S. Team, racing up from 25th to finish 15th and recording the fastest race time. Taylor Fletcher, with the second-fastest time, raced up from 27th to 17th while brother Bryan, not as fast as his team-mates, went from 24th to 23rd. Johnny Spillane jumped to 43rd and finished the race in 30th place, making up just two seconds on the speedy Frenzel. [ See Results.]
Mar 2 -- Bill Demong and Taylor Fletcher jumped to tenth place on the large hill in Val di Fiemme, and started 1:40 back in the 2x7.5 km cross country relay. Fletcher led off with the fastest XC time of the day, making up half of the deficit, but Bill Demong couldn't match that pace and simply stayed in sixth place to the end. Team France took the gold over Austria and Germany. This was the last NC event in Val di Fiemme. [ See Results.]
Sat, Mar 9 -- Bryan & Taylor Fletcher teamed up for a two man 2 X 7.5 km team sprint relay, jumping to eighth place and holding eighth right through the race. Youngster Adam Loomis teamed with veteran Bill Demong. These two jumped to 21st, then moved up to 19th before being the last of four teams to be lapped. [ See Results.]
Friday, Mar 15 -- Taylor Fletcher jumped 115 meters on the new Holmenkollen big hill, good for 23rd place in the jumping portion of the LH Gundersen sprint event and a start 1:31 behind the jumping leader Yoshito Watabe of Japan. Fletcher then posted the fastest cross country time of the day to move past 18 of his competitors and finish in fifth place. Brother Bryan Fletcher jumped 117.5 meters, good for 16th place start in the XC race. The jumpers were densely packed, making for many working groups, large and small throughout the race. Drafting counts in cross country as it does in bicycle racing and auto racing. Taylor worked his way up through these groups, reaching his brother by the 3 km mark. They worked together in a large group of racers before Taylor pushed the pace so hard that the group broke into three parts. Taylor continued to move up and by the half way point in the 10 km race, he was in a large group chasing the three leaders. The three front runners, Eric Frenzel and two Watabes were also working together as a group of nine strong racers edged ever closer. In the last couple of km the chase group finally broke apart as Fletcher and defending World Cup champion Jason Lamy Chappuis broke away but in the end, the two couldn't get withing 20 seconds of the leader. Frenzel, who had entered the event with an unbeatable lead in the points race for the World Cup, won the event, followed by two Watabes, Chappuis and Fletcher. Bryan finished 11th and Bill Demong posted the third fastest XC time, moving up from 31st to 15th. Todd Lodwick rejoined his teammates for the Holmenkollen finale and finished 37th.
The table below shows the entire Nordic Combined World Cup season -- a full schedule of 24 events on 12 weekends -- with the dates and venues of the events.
Most individual competitions will run in the same sprint format: one jump, usually on Large Hill (a few Normal Hill events), followed by a 10k race with Gundersen handicap. The schedule includes two Penalty Races and six Team Relays, four for 2-man teams and two for 4-man teams.
Copyright © 2013, All Rights Reserved