OSLO, Norway (February 15, 2015) - The eighth IBU World Cup of the 2014-15 season came to a close Sunday with the men's and women's relays. In the women's race, the U.S. team of Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.), Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) and Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) finished a lap back of the Czech Republic team of Eva Puskarcikova, Gabriela Soukalova, Jitka Landova and Veronika Vitkova that won today's relay with a time of 1:11:10.6/0+5. It was the third relay win of the season for the Czech Republic. Second place went to Italy (Dorothea Wierer, Nicole Gontier, Federica Sanfilippo and Karin Oberhofer), 28.3 seconds back with just two spares, while France (Anais Bescond, Enora Latuilliere, Coline Varcin and Marie Dorin Habert) took third, 45.9 seconds behind, with five spares.
A cloudy but clear afternoon made for good conditions for the relay teams. Skiing the first leg, Dunklee cleaned prone and used two extra shots in standing to put the U.S. in sixth place by the time she made the exchange with Dreissigacker. That would prove to be as close as the American squad would get to the front of the race the rest of the afternoon.
"Everybody has an off day now and then," explained Dunklee. "We happened to have ours today. We know we are capable of a much better result, and luckily the most important races of the season are still ahead of us. We will take what lessons we can from today and then let go to focus on world championships preparation."
Full results of the women's relay are available here.
With only three male team members in Oslo, the U.S. did not field a squad for the men's relay which was won by Russia, with Germany coming in second, less than one second back of Russia, and Austria placing third. Full results of the men's relay are available here.
Team USA will now get ready for the IBU World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland, March 3-15.
Women's 4x6km relay
|1.||Czech Republic (Puskarcikova, Soukalova, Landova, Vitkova)||1:11:10.6/0+5|
|2.||Italy (Wierer, Gontier, Sanfilippo, Oberhofer)||1:11:38.9/0+2|
|3.||France (Bescond, Latuilliere, Varcin, Dorin Habert)||1:11:56.5/0+5|
|USA (Dunklee, Dreissigacker, Cook, Egan)||LPD/6+15|
Men's 4x7.5km relay
|1.||Russia (Garanichev, Tsvetkov, Malyshko, Shipulin)||1:16.16.6/1+5|
|2.||Germany (Lesser, Birnbacher, Peiffer, Schempp)||1:16.16.8/0+6|
|3.||Austria (Mesotitsch, Eder, Grossegger, Landertinger)||1:17:07.5/0+6|