Taylor Fletcher used a dazzling cross-country ski performance Saturday to overcome a 34th-place jump in a Nordic combined World Cup event in France. Fletcher had the top overall cross-country time, which propelled him to 10th place overall in the event.
Fletcher, of Steamboat Springs, paced the U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team in Chaux-Neuve.
Todd Lodwick and Bryan Fletcher, both of Steamboat, finished 29th and 31st, respectively. Billy Demong and Johnny Spillane missed the cut in jump qualifying.
Saturday’s race marked the second time this season Taylor Fletcher has posted the fastest cross-country time in a World Cup competition.
“Today was a very good day all around,” Fletcher said in a statement posted to the U.S. Ski Team’s website.
“In the cross-country portion I knew I needed to move up fast if I wanted to have a shot at the top 10, and that is exactly what I did. I still have a lot to learn in cross-country even though I had the fastest time.
“I surely went out too hard. If I learn how to pace better, I can ski faster later in the race and put myself in great positions for greater results.”
Nordic combined is a sport that combines ski jumping and cross-country skiing. Competitors typically jump first, and their jump scores determine their starting position in the cross-country ski race. Including Spillane, four of the five U.S. Nordic Combined Ski Team members hail from Steamboat.
Germany's Tino Edelman won Saturday’s competition. Austria’s Bernhard Gruber was second, and Japan’s Akito Watabe was third.
Action continues Sunday with a team sprint event. Demong and Spillane will ski together, as will brothers Bryan and Taylor Fletcher, according to the team’s website.