Tim Burke of Paul Smiths was the top American finisher in the 12.5-kilometer World Cup biathlon pursuit race Sunday, Dec. 2 in Ostersund, Sweden.
Burke started Sunday's race with bib 18 and finished 15th in 34 minutes, 3 seconds with one miss at the second shooting station and one at the fourth. World Cup leader Martin Fourcade of France won the event in 33:03 with just one penalty, beating Andreas Birnbacher of Germany who finished in 33:04 and Anton Shipulin of Russia who came in at 33:06.
"I am really happy with today's performance, especially considering the conditions," Burke said. "It was extremely cold today, which made for some tricky shooting for me. I had a really hard time to even load the rifle because I could not feel my hands at all. Now I am looking forward to going south and racing in some warmer temperatures and maybe even seeing some sun."
US Biathlon/Nordic Focus
Lowell Bailey competes in the 12.5k pursuit race Sunday, Dec. 2 in Sweden.
Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid finished 21st after starting in the 30th position. Bailey posted a time of 34:15 with both his penalties coming in the final standing stage.
"I'm definitely satisfied with the progression of the first four races of the season," Bailey said. "I started out a little sluggish on the skis, but by today I was feeling much snappier and had good speed throughout the race. It was nice to be back up in the front, fighting for a top 10. Although I wish I could have hit one or two more in the last stage, I feel pretty good about the overall performance and I'm looking forward to Hochfilzen, sunshine and schnitzel."
The World Cup tour's next stop is Hochfilzen, Austria, where racing will begin Friday. Burke is ranked 20th in the overall rankings and Bailey is 26th.
In Sunday's women's 10k pursuit, Norway's Tora Berger won the race in 31:09 to beat Darya Domracheva of Belarus who finished in 31:31. Susan Dunklee of Barton, Vt. was the top American with her 39th-place finish in 34:56.
High winds in sprint
In Saturday's 10k World Cup sprint race in Ostersund, Burke overcame high winds and cold temperatures to finish 18th with a time of 26:02. He shot cleanly at the prone station but had two penalties at the standing range.
Jean Philippe Leguellec of Canada won his first career World Cup in the 10k sprint with a time of 25:10 and clean shooting. Alexis Boeuf of France was second in 25:28 and Christoph Sumann of Austria was third in 25:35.
Bailey finished 30th in 26:02 and two penalties at the standing range.
"It was a solid race for me," Burke said. "I am feeling better and better with each day."
Other Americans in the race included Leif Nordgren of Minnesota who finished 54th in 27:15, Jay Hakkinen of Alaska who finished 75th in 28:05 and Russell Currier of Maine who posted a 28:10 for 80th place.
"Tim and Lowell did a great job running and handling the very difficult conditions on the range," said USBA High Performance Director Bernd Eisenbichler. "We are very happy with their performances. Lots of misses at the range today, as winds were changing all the time."
Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake finished 90th in the women's 7.5k sprint race that was won by Berger in 21:34. Cook crossed the line in 25:17.