U.S. men 8th, women 12th at blustery Antholz World Cup relay

Photos from the men's and women's relays at the IBU World Cup in Antholz, Italy, on January 25, 2015

Jan. 25, 2015, 10:43 a.m. (ET)

ANTHOLZ, Italy (January 25, 2015) - Mother Nature proved to be the biggest opponent on Sunday as the men's and women's relays wrapped up competition at the IBU World Cup in Antholz, Italy. Blustery winds truly made patience a virtue on the shooting range, and the U.S. men scored a top-10 finish by placing eighth, while the U.S. women's team crossed the line in 12th.

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) started things off in the 4x7.5-kilometer race, but struggled with the elements on the range, using three spares in prone and another three in standing. He tagged off to teenager Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) with the team in 10th place.

Doherty had a remarkable second leg, skiing the sixth-fastest time (18:53.1) and needing just one spare in prone and two in standing. He moved the American squad up to eighth place as he exchanged with Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.).

Burke and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) battled through the testing winds to keep the U.S. in eighth place as they crossed the line in 1:19:05.6/3+17. The time was 3:28.9 behind the winning quartet from Norway (Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Tarjei Boe, Johannes Thingnes Boe and Emil Hegle Svendsen) who posted a time of 1:15:36.7/0+5. Germany (Erik Lesser, Daniel Boehm, Arnd Peiffer and Simon Schempp) was second in 1:15:53.1/0+7, and France (Simon Fourcade, Quentin Fillon Maillet, Simon Desthieux and Jean Guillaume Beatrix) placed third in 1:16:18.7/0+5. Full results of the men's relay are available here.

In the women's 4x6km relay, Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) cleaned prone and used three spares in standing. She skied into the exchange zone with leader Eva Puskarcikova of Czech Republic, and tagged off to Hannah Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.) in second place, just 3.2 seconds out of the lead.

"It was an awesome experience to be tagged off to in second, but I have to say I was expecting something like that to happen," Dreissigacker said.

Dreissigacker stayed right on the tail of the Czech Republic's Gabriela Soukalova on the first loop as they entered the prone stage together. While Soukalova needed just one spare in prone, Dreissigacker used two but still remained only 8.9 seconds back in second place as they headed out for the second loop. The gusty winds at the standing stage of the second leg got the best of Dreissigacker as she used three spares and had to ski three penalty laps, which dropped the team to 12th.

"It was such an awesome opportunity for me to ski with Soukalova, the leader, for that first lap," added Dreissigacker. "I was happy with prone shooting. Then, when I came in for standing, it got so windy and I missed the very small window right away to get some shots off before it was too windy. I stood there for so long in the crazy wind, along with everyone else, and my legs got really shaky and I just felt like I had no chance to hit my shots in that wind. It was bad luck, but I am also replaying in my head all of the things I should have done differently. Then I had three penalties, which was a real bummer, but on the whole, I took away some really positive experiences. Getting tagged off to in second and being able to hold that all the way until standing shooting...that was really fun."

Annelies Cook (Saranac Lake, N.Y.) turned in the fourth-fastest time on the third leg of the relay and moved the team up to 11th. She needed three spares in prone but just one spare in standing. Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), competing in her first World Cup, brought the team home in 12th with a time of 1:24:16.8/5+18.

"We ended a wild week with some wild wind today," said Dunklee. "Conditions in the range were a lottery with gusts coming from any direction. I think Hannah and Clare saw some of the most challenging of anyone during their standing stages. The wax technicians did an amazing job with the skis today and we had the best material of any team out there."

The German team of Franziska Hildebrand, Franziska Preuss, Luise Kummer and Laura Dahlmeier posted the winning time of 1:18:47.7/2+10. Taking second place with a time of 1:19:22.7/0+15 was the Czech Republic (Eva Puskarcikova, Gabriela Soukalova, Jitka Landova and Veronika Vitkova), while Ukraine (Juliya Dzhyma, Natalya Burdyga, Olga Abramova and Valj Semerenko) came in third in 1:19:33.0/3+14. Full results of the women's relay are available here.

Team USA will now enjoy a week off before heading to IBU World Cup 7 in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic, Feb. 5-8.

Men's 4x7.5km relay

1. Norway (Bjoerndalen, T. Boe, J. Boe, Svendsen) 1:15:36.7/0+5
2. Germany (Lesser, Boehm, Peiffer, Schempp) 1:15:53.1/0+7
3. France (S. Fourcade, Fillon Maillet, Desthieux, Beatrix) 1:16:18.7/0+5
8. USA (Bailey, Doherty, Burke, Nordgren) 1:19:05.6/3+17

Women's 4x6km relay

1. Germany (Hildebrand, Preuss, Kummer, Dahlmeier) 1:18:47.7/2+10
2. Czech Republic (Puskarcikova, Soukalova, Landova, Vitkova) 1:19:22.7/0+15
3. Ukraine (Dzhyma, Burdyga, Abramova, Semerenko) 1:19:33.0/3+14
12.  USA (Dunklee, Dreissigacker, Cook, Egan) 1:24:16.8/5+18