Steamboat Springs' Taylor Fletcher finishes fifth in Nordic combined World Cup event in Sochi

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U.S. Ski Team

Taylor Fletcher

— Steamboat Springs’ Taylor Fletcher continued his dominance on cross-country skis Saturday, registering the second fastest cross-country time in Sochi, Russia, eventually finishing fifth overall in a Nordic combined World Cup event.

At the site of the 2014 Winter Olympics, Fletcher battled blizzard-like conditions in the jumping portion of the competition, placing 15th. As a result, he started 1:16 behind the jumping leader in the cross-country ski portion of the race.

Austria’s Bernhard Gruber won Saturday's competition, followed by Germany’s Eric Frenzel in second. Austria's Wilhelm Denifl took the final podium spot.

Brother Bryan Fletcher jumped well, but ski challenges with 2 kilometers to go in the cross-country race landed him in 15th place. Billy Demong was 28th.

The cross-country course was tough with lots of uphills. It’s also unique that the cross-country event is in the same stadium as the jump and shares the finish line with the outrun.

“The cross-country course is very challenging,” Taylor Fletcher said in a U.S. Ski Team release. “It's unrelenting out there. There's no rest at all so you have to ski smart and know what you're doing. Hopefully it suits me well next year and I can go out and ski my race like I know I can and challenge for the podium.”

Taylor Fletcher had the second-fastest cross-country ski time in a World Cup event last weekend, and has skied the fastest cross-country race in the field four times this season. He landed on his first World Cup podium two weeks ago and was named the International Ski Federation’s Nordic Combined Athlete of the Week last week as a result of his success.

Nordic combined World Cup action continues Sunday with a 5-kilometer team event.

To reach Luke Graham, call 970-871-4229 or email lgraham@SteamboatToday.com

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