POKLJUKA, Slovenia (December 16, 2012) - Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) took to the podium today with a third place finish in the 15k World Cup Mass Start. Posting a time of 36:02 and just two penalties at the range, Burke finished +22.6 seconds back from Andreas Birnbacher (GER) winning with clean shooting and a time of 35:39.4. Jacov Fak (SLO) took second today with 35:57.1 and two penalties. Today marks Burke's fourth career-podium and his first since his breakout 2009-2010 season.
Burke's podium caps off an impressive weekend in Pokljuka where he also placed 4th in the 10k Sprint, and 7th in yesterday's 12.5k Pursuit. Burke now ranks 6th in overall IBU World Cup standings. Today's 15k Mass Start featured top-30 male biathletes. "I'm very happy with today's race, it felt so good to finally put everything together on the same day with a really strong day on the skis and also good shooting in some foggy conditions," said Burke. " The team also did an incredible job of getting me on some really fast skis in some tricky wet conditions. I'm super happy to be back on the podium. It's been two years and a lot of hard work has gone in to this from everyone, and it's a great way to head into the Christmas break. I'm already looking ready to coming back and racing in Oberhof. Today definitely went a long way in helping with my confidence knowing that I can be back up there with the best again. It should bode well for the rest of the season, I hope."
"It was a super job of everybody today," said Per Nilsson, US Biathlon head coach. "Tim did a super job on the range and the course. For the last loop he was in third place and moved up to Jacov Fak, one of the strongest skiers this trimester. Just five seconds behind Tim were Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) and World Cup leader Martin Fourcade (FRA), so I don't think Tim was certain he was going to make the podium until he crossed the finish line."
"This was an awesome day and the right ending before Christmas," Said Bernd Eisenbichler, US Biathlon high Performance director. "Tim made himself the best Christmas present today. This whole week was a very, very high level of biathlon competition and complex performances, especially in shooting. Thanks to the staff for the excellent work over the last three weeks. We moved one step up each week and now we are on the podium again. That's a really great way to end the year and we're looking forward to the January World Cups."
Extended results from today's Mass Start are here. Team USA will begin a World Cup break tomorrow and return to competition January 3-6 in Oberhof, Germany. Please visit here for a race schedule. Races in Oberhof will be webcast live at www.biathlonworld.com.