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Bailey holds on for 18th-place pursuit finish

December 13, 2016
By staff , Lake Placid News

Lowell Bailey held his 18th position in clear and nearly windless conditions Saturday in the 12.5-kilometer World Cup biathlon pursuit race in Pokljuka, Slovenia. The Lake Placid native recorded a time of 32 minutes, 29 seconds.

"Conditions were the best I've ever seen in Pokljuka, and perhaps the entire World Cup circuit," Bailey said. "Still don't have the ski speed I need to compete with the top of the field. I've had a great year of training so I'm hoping the ski speed improves as I work through the season."

France's Martin Fourcade made it two victories in a row as he shot clean to win the men's pursuit in 30:27.4. Norway's clean-shooting Emil Hegle Svensen outsprinted Russia's Anton Shipulin to claim second, six seconds back. Shipulin matched his third place from Friday's sprint, 6.2 seconds behind Fourcade with one penalty.

Tim Burke, of Paul Smiths, finished 42nd with five penalties, 4:09.8 back of the lead.

In the women's 10-kilometer pursuit, Susan Dunklee, of Barton, Vermont, matched her best-ever performance in a World Cup pursuit race on Saturday with a fifth-place finish.

Starting in the 11th position following Friday's sprint results, Dunklee got off to a blazing start by clocking the fastest opening loop in the 57-woman field. Her early exertion on the skis did not carry over to the shooting range as she calmly knocked down her first 15 targets.

Dunklee was in fourth place after cleaning the second prone and moved up to second place, just 0.7 seconds out of the lead, after going five for five in the first standing. She was third in total range time and fourth in total shooting time.

"Ski speed is not 100 percent there yet this season, but it often isn't sharp until February," Dunklee said. "I need to be patient. I was skiing in no-man's land during a couple of loops which is an extra challenge."

Dunklee was in the lead pack of six as they all entered the final standing stage together, but only Germany's Laura Dahlmeier would go clean out of that group. Dunklee missed her first target of the day on the final shooting stage, which sent her to the penalty loop with the other contenders.

"During all the stages I felt very aware of what was going on around me but at the same time I was emotionally detached," Dunklee said. "The miss on the last stage was a well-executed shot, just like all the others, but it landed just outside the target."

After dropping back to seventh on the final loop to the finish line, Dunklee dug deep and rallied for fifth place, 24.1 seconds back of Dahlmeier who recovered after missing two targets in the second prone to finish first in 30 minutes, 43.1 seconds.

"I love this course with its finishing camel's hump hills," Dunklee said. "I was hurting for much of that last loop, but I knew that if I tried sprinting early I might be able to hang on to the lead of my pack because tactically it is very difficult to pass in the last half kilometer."

Finland's Kaisa Makarainen also had two penalties to finish second, 24.5 seconds back. Czech Republic's Eva Puskarcikova made the podium for the first time in her career, finishing third, 25.1 seconds behind Dahlmeier with one penalty. Team USA's Clare Egan, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine, finished 56th.

With only three male and three female athletes in Pokljuka, Team USA did not be compete in Sunday's relays.



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