RUHPOLDING, Germany (January 10, 2013) - Changing and challenging weather conditions made for a frustrating 4x7.5k relay today for Team USA's men in Ruhpolding. With top-ranked Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) sidelined due to illness, Team USA - Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY), Leif Nordgren (Marine, MN), Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) and Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) - finished 14th with a time of 1:17:06.0 (2+10), 3:54.8 back from Team France (S. Fourcade, Beatrix, Boeuf, M. Fourcade) posting 1:13:11.2 (0+3). Norway (Birkeland, Boe, L'abee-Lund, Svendsen) took second at 1:13:20.6 (0+8), and Austria (Eder, Pinter, Landertinger, Sumann) finished third with a time of 1:13:20.9 (0+9). Bailey opened strong on the first leg for Team USA, cleaning prone and taking the team to 7th place early in the race. Bailey needed an extra round in standing, but tagged off to Norgdren in 8th place. Heavy rain impacted the course on the second leg, but Nordgren cleaned prone with one extra round to rise to fifth place. In standing, Nordgren missed two shots, but cleaned the stage with two extra rounds to leave the range in second place. Heavy rain turned to heavy snow, as Nordgren dropped to seventh place tagging off to Currier. Currier struggled in prone, taking two penalty loops and dropping to 10th place. In standing, Currier cleaned the stage using extra rounds and left the range in 17th, tagging off to Hakkinen in 16th place. Hakkinen cleaned both prone and standing bringing the team up to 13th but fell back to 14th, just 5 seconds behind the Czech Republic. Extended results from today's relay are available here.
"Leif Nordgren's leg time of 18:15 was the 10th best of the day among all legs of all the teams," said US Biathlon President and CEO Max Cobb. "Leif was fast both on the range and on the course and moved the team up to second place after his standing. That was a world class performance in some very difficult conditions." "I was very happy to race in today's relay, especially since the level of the team has risen to where we are competing for the podium," added Hakkinen. " I wanted to put in a good performance, and I was pleased I could shut out any outside distractions and focus on hitting all my targets."
World Cup 5 racing continues tomorrow with women's 7.5k sprint. Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT) start with bib 5, Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, NY) bib 24, Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID) bib 56, and Lanny Barnes (Durango, CO) with bib 89. Tomorrow's start list and results can be found here. The women's sprint will be webcast live here beginning at 12:15pm (ET).