Cross-country times help make up Americans' jumps at World Cup

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— Much like last week’s team relay event, the United States skiers had to overcome subpar jumping results to avoid bottom-half finishes at Saturday’s World Cup Nordic combined competition in Lillehammer, Norway.

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U.S. Ski Team

Bryan Fletcher

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U.S. Ski Team

Bill Demong

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U.S. Ski Team

Taylor Fletcher

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U.S. Ski Team

Todd Lodwick

Steamboat’s Bryan Fletcher paced the U.S. team in the second World Cup competition with a 16th-place finish Saturday. Fletcher scored just 94.6 jump points and was ranked 36th overall heading into the 10-kilometer cross-country skiing portion. Fletcher pulled together an 11th-place cross-country finish to snag a top-20 overall score, crossing the line 1 minute, 17 seconds behind France’s Jason Lamy Chappuis.

Like Fletcher, Bill Demong managed just a 45th-place jump score but used a ninth-place cross-country finish to pull into 19th overall at the end of the day.

Bryan’s brother Taylor Fletcher was the next in line for the American group, finishing 22nd overall despite a 53rd-ranked jumping section. Taylor Fletcher’s eighth-best time in cross-country skiing made up more than two minutes on his finish.

Steamboat’s Todd Lodwick was last in line for the United States, finishing 34th out of 65 competitors in Lillehammer. Lodwick wasn’t able to make up much time off his 94.2, 37th-place jumping score by completing the cross-country course in 36th place at 27:29.

Bryan Fletcher and Lodwick were the first two Americans out of the gate in cross-country, starting one after the other in the middle of the pack.

After Saturday, Bryan Fletcher is the United States' top individual in the World Cup standings, holding the No. 24 ranking. Demong is 28th, Taylor Fletcher is 31st and Lodwick currently is not ranked.

World Cup Nordic combined competition will continue Sunday in Lillehammer.

To reach Ben Ingersoll, call 970-871-4204, email bingersoll@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @BenMIngersoll

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