NOVE MESTO, Czech Republic (February 8, 2015) - The seventh IBU World Cup competition of the 2014-15 season came to a conclusion Sunday in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, with the men's and women's pursuit races being contested. The American team notched two top-20 finishes, with Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) placing 18th in the women's 10-kilometer pursuit and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) coming in 20th in the men's 12.5km pursuit.
Dunklee began the women's race in ninth place, 46 seconds back of the leader, but with two misses at the first prone shooting stage she found herself back in 27th position. A clean round at the second prone stage brought Dunklee back up to 20th as the weather turned to blizzard-like conditions, but she could not gain much ground with three more penalties in the standing stages. Dunklee crossed the line in 18th with a time of 37:12.2.
"We saw conditions change between blue skies and full-on blizzard several times during our zero and race," said Dunklee. "The range was windy and snow got into our sights. The tracks were extremely slow with several inches of new snow which mad passing challenging. It was far from perfect for everybody out there, and that's what I kept reminding myself during the race."
Darya Domracheva of Belarus overcame the conditions to win the women's pursuit in 35:22.3, with four penalties. Kaisa Makarainen of Finland finished second, also with four penalties, 6.8 seconds back. Sprint winner Laura Dahlmeier of Germany placed third, with three penalties, 14.9 seconds behind Domracheva.
Other U.S. finishers included Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) in 38th (40:20.4/+8) and Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.) in 41st (40:26.9/+8). Full results from the women's pursuit are available here.
In the men's pursuit, the sky had cleared for the start but the snow returned intermittently throughout the race. Nordgren hit 17 of 20 targets to place 20th with a time of 40:02.8. His teammates, Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) placed 38th and 41st, respectively. Burke finished in 41:02.8 with four penalties, while Doherty crossed the line in 42:27.0, also with four penalties.
"Today's race was pretty messy," Nordgren said. "We received about 4-6 inches of snow overnight, and the whole day it was snowing on and off, with pretty gusty winds. I think during the women's race before ours they got about three inches of snow during the race. I was happy with where I finished, it wasn't a catastrophe, but at the same time I was disappointed. Of my three mistakes on the shooting range, two of them were stupid mistakes that I shouldn't have made. On the tracks I felt good for about three loops, but in the later stages of the race I could really feel some fatigue coming on from the last few days of racing. We had good skis again today thanks to our techs, in just about every condition from bright sunshine some minutes, to total whiteout blizzard a few minutes later. Definitely some of the craziest conditions I've ever had for a race before. I'm really happy with how this week has gone. My best-ever finish, and two top-20 results as well as a good relay leg. Hopefully I can keep this momentum going into next week's races in Oslo."
Jakov Fak of Slovenia led from start to finish to take his second victory in a row. He covered the course in 37:24.9, with one penalty. Germany's Simon Schempp finished second, also with one penalty, 4.4 seconds back, while Martin Fourcade of France was third, shooting clean, 13.3 seconds back. Full men's pursuit results are available here.
The next IBU World Cup begins Thursday in Oslo, Norway.
Women's 10km pursuit
|1.||Darya Domracheva (BLR)||35:22.3/+4|
|2.||Kaisa Makarainen (FIN)||35:29.1/+4|
|3.||Laura Dahlmeier (GER)||35:37.2/+3|
|18.||Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)||37:17.2/+5|
|38.||Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.)||40:20.4/+8|
|41.||Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.)||40:26.9/+8|
Men's 12.5km pursuit
|1.||Jakov Fak (SLO)||37:24.9/+1|
|2.||Simon Schempp (GER)||37:29.3/+1|
|3.||Martin Fourcade (FRA)||37:38.2/+0|
|20.||Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.)||40:02.8/+3|
|37.||Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.)||41:02.7/+4|
|45.||Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.)||42:27.0/+4|