NOVE MESTO, CZE (February 17, 2013) - It was a tough end for Team USA at today's 15k mass start at the 2013 IBU World Championships in Nove Mesto, CZE. Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) cleaned his first three shooting stages and climbed as high as second, holding among the top four throughout most of today's mass start. Going into the final shooting stage, Bailey was second, just 1.6 seconds back from World Cup leader Martin Fourcade (FRA), with the field of the top 13 athletes within just 14 seconds of each other. Bailey missed two targets, and dropped to 14th. Bailey finished 13th posting a time of 37:25.2 (0+0+0+2).
"More than ever, I realize that at this level, a podium result requires perfection," said Bailey following today's race. "That's what I've strived for in training and that's what I will continue to strive for looking forward to the final three World Cups and beyond. I felt great today. My skis were great, I felt good physically, and I was relaxed and confident in the range. Of course I would like to have cleaned that last stage, but other than that, I had the race I wanted to have. I think this statement pretty much sums up how I feel about today and this World Champs: I've never been more hungry for the podium at any point in my career than right now!"
Tarjei Boe won today's mass start for Norway, posting a time of 36:15.8 with clean shooting. Anton Shipulin (RUS) took silver with clean shooting and a time of 36:19.3. Emill Hegle Svendsen (NOR) won bronze with a time of 36:23.2 and one penalty. Today's win put Norway's gold medal count at eight, the most ever won by a nation at IBU World Championships.
On the first loop of today's race, two athletes went down in front of Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) on a high speed downhill corner. With no time or space to maneuver, Burke skied into one and flew off the course into a ditch. Skiing hard to climb from 30th place, Burke struggled with his rifle in the first two stages, which had been jammed with snow from the fall, and picked up five penalties. Burke regained control cleaning his final two stages, but unfortunately could not make up time lost with the earlier crash. He finished the race in 30th with a time of 41:15.5/2+3+0+0.
"I was really motivated for this race today and I thought I definitely had a chance to fight for another podium," said Burke. "Unfortunately, I was involved in a bad crash on the first loop where I ended up off of the course. During the crash I rolled on my rifle and it ended up totally jamming with snow. From that point, my race was essentially over as it took me a few minutes to get the rifle functioning once I got in the range. I was pretty disappointed to end World Champs like this but that's the way biathlon goes sometimes."
Extended results from today's mass start are available here.