Sign In | Create an Account | Welcome, . My Account | Logout | Subscribe | Submit News | News | Local News | Contact Us | Home RSS

Bailey's dream season comes to a close

March 21, 2017
Lake Placid News

OSLO, Norway - Lowell Bailey capped off a historic World Cup biathlon season Sunday with a 15th-place finish in the 15-kilometer mass start.

Bailey, a Lake Placid resident, became the first American to win an IBU world championship title in February and then added two silver medals at World Cup events in March. He finished the season ranked eighth in the overall World Cup standings, which was a career best. His previous high was 14th during the 2011-12 campaign, and finished 17th last season.

"As much as I would have liked to stay at the top of the race (Sunday), I'm satisfied with how the day ended; I was able to hang on to my eighth-place overall ranking," Bailey said. "This was a huge goal for me heading into this last World Cup. After Friday's disappointing sprint, I was not that optimistic about my prospects, but I was able to put a decent performance together in the pursuit, gain a few points and hold my spot in the mass start."

Article Photos

Lowell Bailey takes aim during the World Cup biathlon mass start Sunday in Oslo, Norway.
(Photo — US Biathlon/Nordic Focus)

Bailey was in contention for another podium finish Sunday after cleaning all 10 prone targets. Skiing with the lead pack, Bailey was first to enter the range for the initial standing shoot, but suffered two missed targets, dropping him down to 19th. He moved up to 16th place despite another miss on the last standing stage and jumped up to 15th at the finish, 1 minute, 10.4 seconds back of the winning time.

"I felt really good on the track and I was able to stay on pace with the leaders of the race," Bailey said. "Knowing this, I felt that if I put together a decent performance on the range, I could make a play for the podium. Coming into the first standing, (Anton) Shipulin just pulled over and would not lead me in, and knowing the pace of everyone else behind me, I just decided to take the lead and shoot on point one. I felt composed in the shooting, but unfortunately not all the targets went down. That being said, my approach all season has been to be decisive and focused in the range; it didn't go as well as it did for me at world champs, but I'm still happy with my ski speed, and the fact that I was able to pull off a top 15 in a tough field, at the end of the season."

France's Martin Fourcade was the only man in the field to shoot clean, claiming a record-setting 14th win in 37:32.2. Latvia's Andrejs Rastorgujevs, with two penalties, had his first-ever podium with a career-best second place, 17.4 seconds back. Austria's Simon Eder, with one penalty, finished third, 32.4 seconds behind Fourcade.

Bailey's American teammate Susan Dunklee, of Barton, Vermont, finished 20th in Sunday's 12.5K women's mass start. Dunklee, who won a silver medal in the mass start at the world championships to become the first U.S. woman ever to reach the podium at the event, then teamed with Bailey on March 12 in Finland to win silver in the single mixed relay.

Dunklee got off to a fast start in the women's race Sunday. She led the field after going 10-for-10 in prone, holding a two-second advantage over Norway's Tiril Eckhoff. However, five crucial misses in standing dashed any hope for a podium finish. Dunklee crossed the line in 20th position, 1:43.8 back of the lead. She posted the second-fastest shooting time in the field as well as the second-fastest range time.

"It was a little bittersweet because I was fighting for the lead at the halfway point of the race," Dunklee said. "My standing shooting has been a big struggle this weekend. Like every athlete, I am feeling a little tired after 30-plus races, but my skiing splits have been my strongest of the season this weekend."

Dunklee finished the year 10th in the women's World Cup rankings, also a career best. She was 14th last season.

"It's been an incredible honor to be part of this team during this special year," Dunklee said. "We have staff who have worked hard for decades believing that our athletes could one day reach this level. Now we have new training ideas for how to improve over the summer and plenty of motivation to keep the momentum rolling."

Eckhoff, with one penalty, won the women's mass start in 34:23.1 for her second victory of the season. Gabriela Koukalova of Czech Republic, also with one penalty, finished second, 22.6 seconds back. Finland's Kaisa Makarainen, with two penalties, moved from sixth at the start of the last loop to finish third, 34.5 seconds behind Eckhoff.



I am looking for:
News, Blogs & Events Web