Fletcher 14th at Worlds opener | SteamboatToday.com

Fletcher 14th at Worlds opener

— A fall late in the race cost Bryan Fletcher a top-10 finish, but a strong jump and a fast cross-country skiing race still had him in contention for a medal midway through Friday’s Nordic World Ski Championships Nordic combined opener in Lahti, Finland.

Caught up in a battle where he could have finished as high as sixth, Fletcher said he took one of the course’s final turns too fast and fell. He quickly got up, and while that opportunity had vanished, he still managed one of the best World Championship results of his career, placing 14th.

“Today was a solid start to the World Championships,” he said. “I really thought I had a shot at the medal today, and I proved it by being in the fight all the way until the end. On the last lap I was fighting for third with about 1.5 kilometers to go.”

Taylor Fletcher laid down the day’s third-fastest ski time to place 21st. Adam Loomis skied up to 33rd and Ben Berend was 41st.

The U.S. team did jump better overall than it has recently on the World Cup circuit. Bryan Fletcher was 16th after the jump. The top two spots were likely out of the conversation right away.

Germany’s Johannes Rydzek and Eric Frenzel jumped into the first two spots, then went on to finish in that order. Bjoern Kircheisen was third.

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Taylor Fletcher jumped to 47th, Loomis 39th and Berend 22nd.

“Oh well,” Bryan Fletcher said of his slip. “It just wasn’t meant to be today, but I know now that I am in good shape and jumping and skiing on a decent level, and I will carry that momentum into the next competitions.”

Next up for the team is a four-man relay on Sunday.

To reach Joel Reichenberger, call 970-871-4253, email jreichenberger@SteamboatToday.com or follow him on Twitter @JReich9