Bailey and Currier Qualify for Nove Mesto Pursuit

Photos from the men's 10k sprint in Nove Mesto

By Bill Kellick | Dec. 15, 2016, 5:56 p.m. (ET)

NOVE MESTO, Czech Republic (December 15, 2016) – Americans Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) and Russell Currier (Stockholm, Maine) finished 20th and 55th, respectively, in Thursday's men's 10-kilometer sprint on the opening night of the BMW IBU World Cup 3 in Nove Mesto. Both athletes qualified for Saturday's men's 12.5k pursuit by virtue of finishing among the top 60 in the 101-man field.

Bailey hit nine of 10 targets, with his only miss coming in the standing position, and crossed the line with a time of 24 minutes, 35.5. seconds, putting him 47.5 seconds back of winner Martin Fourcade of France.

"I was happy that my ski speed bounced back from last week," said Bailey who had the eighth-fastest course time on the third and final loop. "This is a challenging course, with some monster extended climbs and challenging downhills. It's also a difficult range in that you have a long approach with little rest before the shooting. I took my time in prone, which definitely cost me a few places, but I knew it was windy and I had to take a little bit of extra time to adjust for that. All in all, I'm happy with the result and looking forward to the pursuit on Saturday."

Fourcade added to his legendary career with his third sprint win of the month, winning in 23:48 with a single penalty. He becomes the first man ever to win all three sprints before the holiday break. Second place went to clean-shooting Anton Shipulin of Russia, 1.6 seconds back, while Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen took third, 6.5 seconds behind Fourcade with one penalty. Currier finished 1:52.8 back of the winner with two penalties on the range. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) was ill and did not start the race. Full men's sprint results are available here.

A large, enthusiastic crowd kept everyone's adrenalin flowing on a beautiful opening night in Nove Mesto. The support from the fans was not lost on Bailey.

"The crowd was phenomenal this evening," Bailey said. "Walking out of the tunnel into the starting pen was incredible, surrounded by 30,000 screaming fans. The stadium here is unique in that it now fills three sides of the field of play. You actually ski under one of the spectator areas as the last few hundred meters of the ski course."

The BMW IBU World Cup 3 continues on Friday with the women's 7.5k sprint. Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) and Joanne Reid (Boulder, Colo.) will be in action for Team USA. The women's sprint begins at 11:30 a.m. EST and live streaming coverage of the race can be seen at www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu.

Men’s 10km sprint results

1.

Martin Fourcade (FRA)

23:48.0/+1

2.

Anton Shipulin (RUS)

+1.6/+0

3.

Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR)

+6.4/+1

20.

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.)

+47.5/+1

55.

Russell Currier (Stockholm, Maine)

+1:52.8/+2

DNS.

Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.)