Bailey 10th and Burke 15th in Snowy Pursuit
Khanty-Mansiysk, Russia (March 16, 2013) - Heavy snowfall hit the course in Kanthy-Mansiysk in time for today's 12.5-kilometer pursuit. Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) finished 10th with a time of 36:21.9/+1,1:34 back from Christoph Sumann (AUT) winning with clean shooting and a time of 34:47.9. Simon Fourcade (FRA) finished second (35:23.6/+0), World Cup leader Martin Fourcade (FRA) posted 35:28.3/+5 to tie for third with Michal Slesingr (CZE) (35:38.3/+3). An IBU jury decision awarded Slesingr third place after Andreas Birnbacher (GER) cross-fired on Slesinger's target in the first standing stage.
"Today was brutal from the start," said Bailey. "It started dumping snow about an hour before the race and it just got stronger as the race progressed.I had a lot of problems with my rifle - loading rounds, getting snow stuck in the sites, etc. - but from talking to the other competitors, I think a lot of guys had the same type of problems. Given the conditions, I just tried to take each shot on its own, without trying to shoot with my normal rhythm. Today it worked and I'm really happy with the top-10, and looking forward to one more race tomorrow."
Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) finished 15th with a time of 36:29.7 and four penalties. "We had some really tough conditions today with heavy snow falling for the entire race," said Burke. "I think everyone had a hard time keeping the rifles working. I struggled a bit with this and had a hard time finding my rhythm on the range today. I will try to make those adjustments for tomorrow because it looks like we will be racing in the same conditions."
Leif Nordgren (Marine, MN) finished 35th today with a time of 38:08.4 and three penalties, Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) was 55th (40:32.4/+7). Extended results from today's 12.5k pursuit are available here.
Bailey and Burke will race in tomorrow's 15k mass start, scheduled for an 8:30am (ET) start. The mass start will be webcast live at www.biathlonworld.com.
Cook Takes Top Finish, 35th, for Team USA in 10k Pursuit
Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, NY) posted a time of 35:21.3, cleaning her first three stages but picking up four penalties in the final standing stage in today's 10k pursuit. Gabriela Soukalova (CZE) won her second race of the week in Khanty-Mansiysk, finishing at 30:58 with two penalties. Olga Vilukhina (RUS) took second (31:05.8/+3), and World Cup leader Tora Berger (NOR) was third (31:13.6/+2).
"Today was a tough day for me, even though the result was not too bad," said Cook. "I was so happy to start off doing well, and to keep moving up by skiing well and cleaning the first three stages. But when I came into the last stage my insecurities about standing, and the thoughts running through my head that if I cleaned it would be a great day, proved to be too much. It's funny how different it is to have a penalty in each loop versus four in one stage, but that's something that I have to work on- figuring out how to handle the mental pressure of being in a good spot that is riding on one shooting stage. I am disappointed in myself, but luckily it is all still part of the learning process.
Susan Dunklee (Barton, VT) had a challenging race today, finishing 58th with a time of 39:06.5 and 11 penalties, including additional penalties incurred for a cross-fire in her last standing stage.
"I made some huge mistakes out there today that resulted in one of my toughest results to date," said Dunklee. "To top it off, my coach told me afterwards that I cross fired in the last stage and incurred more penalties. The last couple weeks for me have been a classic example of the emotional rollercoaster that we athletes ride."
Extended results from the women's 10k pursuit are available here.