The U.S. Ski Team's Taylor Fletcher carves around a downhill corner en route to his first international nordic combined win at Soldier Hollow. (USSA/Tom Kelly)
SOLDIER HOLLOW, UT (Dec. 11) - The U.S. Ski Team's Taylor Fletcher (Steamboat Springs, CO) made a statement Sunday, coming from a huge one minute 50 seconds back after the jump to win the FIS Nordic Combined Continental Cup at Soldier Hollow by 16.9 seconds. It was his first international win and came at the expense of strong skiers from Germany and France. Fletcher, who was 28th in the jump, had the fastest cross country time and was never threatened once he took the lead midway through the race. German Michael Duenkel was second and Mark Schlott third. The win propelled Fletcher into the Continental Cup lead after three races.
First international win for Taylor Fletcher and sixth individual Continental Cup podium who took over series lead.
Three Americans in top eight with career best seventh for Erik Lynch (Steamboat Springs, CO) and eighth for Nick Hendrickson (Park City, UT).
Brett Denney had the second fastest cross country time behind Fletcher.
Racing will continue with a pair of events Tuesday and Wednesday at Utah Olympic Park and Soldier Hollow, makeups for the Lake Placid event next weekend which was cancelled.
QUOTES Taylor Fletcher It's pretty exciting to be up her finally after my sixth Continental Cup podium. To finally be on the top is very nice.
Definitely I had pretty good skis - smooth and fast - and I just went out and controlled. I was able to hammer each lap harder and harder. On the fifth lap I had some distance and was just making sure I made it through the corners without completely blowing up. Once I got around the corner (to the finish) I knew I was pretty safe.
It was really nice to go back up and recover quickly. We have the awesome Center of Excellence and we were able to get in yesterday to do some recovery, which makes a big difference in cross country
Mark Schlott, Germany It was a really hard race. Taylor was so fast but I feel it was good today and I'm satisfied with second place.
Michael Duenkel, Germany In the morning I had a good jump. It was a good race for us.I had my best Continental Cup place so I'm very happy about it. Mark Schlott) and I knew that Taylor was coming and we wanted together, but Taylor was too strong for us.