SOCHI, Russia (March 10, 2013) - Team USA's relay squad closed the Sochi World Cup today with a 10th place finish. The team - led by Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY), Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME), and anchored by Leif Nordgren (Marine, MN) - posted a time of 1:11:42.4/0+10 to finish 1:51.6 minutes back from Team Russia (Shipulin, Loginov, Malyshko, Ustygov) winning with a time of 1:09:50.8/1+6. Team Germany (Lesser, Birnbacher, Peiffer, Doll) crossed the finish 38 seconds later to take silver (1:10:29.1/0+10), and the Czech Republic (Slesingr, Soukup, Janov, Moravec) finished third (1:10:33.7/0+13).
Team USA was among the leading pack in the first two stages of today's relay. " I was glad to have a decent start today, " said Bailey. "The first initial climb was brutal with everyone scrambling to get a decent position on the next downhill. I was able to move up near the front of the group by the first prone and shot clean. I felt better and better as the race went on, and after using an extra round, I was able to ski into a good position by the tag. Tim had a great leg too. It was nice to be up at the top of the field for a while!"
"Today was an O.K. result for us, but of course we were hoping for more," said Burke. "We definitely learned that the relay will stay super close here and shooting will be even more important if you want to have a chance at the top-5."
Weather conditions at the Olympic course in Sochi improved today, however today' s track was modified to eliminate one of the long climbs and steep downhills that was the site of several crashes this week. Extended results from today's 4 X 7.5-kilometer relay are available here.
Team USA is now en-route to Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia for the final World Cup of the 2012-13 season. Racing begins on Thursday, with a full event schedule available here.