Burke and Bailey lead Team USA in Ostersund sprint

Dec. 06, 2014, 12:04 p.m. (ET)

OSTERSUND, SWE (December 6, 2014) – Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) raced to a 17th-place finish in Saturday’s men’s 10-kilometer sprint at the IBU World Cup opener in Ostersund, Sweden. Despite two misses on the range, Burke displayed strong skiing to finish with a time of 26:04.8/1+1. Martin Fourcade (FRA) took the win, crossing the line in 24:46.6/0+0. There was a tight battle for second with Ondrej Moravec (CZE) edging Jakov Fak (SLO) by less than a second. Moravec timed in at 25:14.9, while Fak crossed in 25:15.3. Both had clean shooting.

"Today was another solid race for me but I was definitely hoping for a little better shooting." said Burke. "My skiing put me in a position to reach the podium, but two misses are too much for the sprint race. So far this season my shooting has been solid but I feel like I still need a few more races to really find my groove."

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) finished 23rd with a time of 26:15.0/1+1. Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) was 51st (27:12.4/0+1), missing only his final target, and Russell Currier (Stockholm, Maine) came in 90th (29:01.6/4+1).

Burke is now 10th in the world rankings while Bailey is 17th. The men’s team is 8th in the Nations Cup.

The women took to the Ostersund course a few hours later as dusk was falling. Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff took the win despite missing a shot in the standing position and crossed the line in 21:35.5. She was followed in the final standings by Veronika Vitkova (CZE) who went clean with a time of 21:40.1, and Kaisa Makarainen (FIN) who finished in 21:43.1/1+1.

For the U.S. squad, Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) had a rifle malfunction during the first shoot, causing her to miss a shot, but skied strongly, logging the 9th-best course time, to place 41st in 23:31.4/1+2. Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) was 79th (24:49.2/2+1) and Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.) placed 81st (24:57.8/2+1).

“My magazine didn’t fully click into place when I loaded it, so when I went to take my first shot nothing happened,” explained Dunklee. “After I reloaded it, I accidentally hit the trigger as I closed the bolt, so that first shot went into the dirt. It was a frustrating way to start. The biggest challenge on the ski track today were the downhill corners which had undulating bumps, much like riding a pump track. My skiing shape felt great and I know I can be in the fight for a podium spot on any given day. Unfortunately, with my shooting struggles, today was not my day.”

Complete results from today’s races are here.

Burke, Bailey and Nordgren will race in Sunday’s 12.kkm pursuit starting at 5:00 a.m. (ET). Dunklee races for Team USA in the 10km women’s pursuit beginning at 7:30 a.m. (ET). Watch both races live or replay here.

“Tomorrow’s race should be super exciting with so many athletes starting so close together,” said Burke.

IBU World Cup 1

Ostersund, Sweden

Nov. 30-Dec. 7, 2014

Men’s 10k Sprint

1. Martin Fourcade (FRA) 24:46.6/0+0

2. Ondrej Moravec (CZE) 25:14.9/0+0

3. Jakov Fak (SLO) 25:15.3/0+0

17. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) 26:04.8/1+1

23. Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) 26:15.0/1+0

51. Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) 27:12.4/0+1

90. Russell Currier (Stockholm, Maine) 29:01.6/4+1

Women’s 7.5k Sprint

1. Tiril Eckhoff (NOR) 21:35.5/0+1

2. Veronika Vitkova (CZE) 21:40.1/0+0

3. Kaisa Makarainen (FIN) 21:43.1/1+1

41. Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) 23:31.4/1+2

79. Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) 24:49.2/2+1

81. Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.) 24:57.8/2+1

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