OSTERSUND, SWE (December 3, 2014) – Three days after an impressive seventh-place showing by Team USA in the mixed relay, the individual races got underway Wednesday at the World Cup opener in Östersund, Sweden, with the men’s 20-kilometer individual. The American squad continued its strong showing with two top-20 finishes, led by an 11th place for three-time Olympian Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.).
Burke who clocked the eighth-fastest time on the course, went clean at the last standing shoot to hit 17 of 20 targets overall with a time of 56:58.4, putting him 3:32.8 behind winner Emil Hegle Svendgen (NOR), who had clean shooting and a top time of 53:25.6. Serhiy Semenov (UKR) took second (54:43.2/+1), and Michal Slesingr (CZE) was third (55:33.9/+1). In the Individual competition there is not penalty loop but one minute is added to the competitors’ time for each missed shot.
“I am happy with my 11th place in today's race,” Burke said. “Going into the season, I felt like my shape was at a good level, but you never really know until you start racing. The 20k course here is known as being one of the toughest on the World Cup and the wind and warm snow only added to that today. It was nice to get this one done with and I am looking forward to the races this weekend. While I was happy with the result today, I definitely still have some areas that I will be looking to improve on in the next races.”
Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) also hit 17 of 20 shots, going clean from the prone position, to finish 20th (58:15.6/+3). Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) finished 71st (1:03:13.3/+4), and Russell Currier (Stockholm, Maine) was 74th (1:03:26.5/+7) among the 101 starters.
“It was challenging, for sure,” said Bailey about Wednesday’s conditions. “The weather warmed up quite a bit before the race which made for some pretty icy, mushy downhills and the track deteriorated pretty quickly. And the added wind made it even more challenging on the range.”
Bailey, who was eighth at the 2014 Olympic Games in this event, looked poised for a top-10 finish until the last shooting stage where he missed two shots.
“I couldn’t hold it together in the wind there. I thought I could wait it out but you never want to miss that last shot when you wait 10 or 20 seconds for the wind to die down. All is all I’m happy with the race and it was a solid start to the season.”
Complete results are available here.
Competition in Östersund continues Thursday at 11:15 EST with the women’s 15k individual race. Set to compete for Team USA are Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) and Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.). Live stream coverage will be available here.
IBU World Cup 1
Nov. 30-Dec. 7, 2014
Men’s 20k Individual
1. Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) 53:25.6/+0
2. Serhiy Semenov (UKR) +1:17.6/+1
3. Michal Slesingr (CZE) +2:08.3/+1
11. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) +3:32.8/+3
20. Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) +4:50.0/+3
71. Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) +9:47.7/+4
74. Russell Currier (Stockholm, Maine) +10:00.90/+7