CANMORE, Alberta, Canada (February 6, 2016) - A day before Super Bowl Sunday, American Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) had his own Super Saturday at the BMW IBU World Cup 7 in Canmore, Alberta, Canada. Burke battled toe-to-toe with the big names in the sport and turned in a season-best seventh place in the men's 15-kilometer mass start.
Extremely gusty winds made it challenging for everyone at the shooting range. At the first prone stage, only four of the 30 competitors went clean and Burke, with just one miss, found himself in the thick of the action in 15th place, 41.8 seconds out of the lead. A clean second prone stage vaulted Burke up to ninth, now just 34.8 seconds back, but it was at the first standing stage where the race turned dramatically as the leaders at the time all struggled with the wind factor. Burke seized upon the opening and, with only one miss, moved all the way up to fourth place exiting the range, now just 17.5 seconds out of the lead.
Skiing in a pack of six athletes as they entered the final shooting stage, Burke kept his top-10 hopes intact with just one miss and left the range in ninth place, only five seconds out of fourth and less than a second ahead of World Cup leader Martin Fourcade of France. On the final lap, Burke put the pedal to the metal, skiing the sixth-fastest lap time to move up to seventh place at the finish with a time of 41 minutes, 0.9 seconds, just 1.5 seconds behind Fourcade and only 23.8 back of winner Dominik Windisch of Italy.
"Today was definitely a very challenging race with some really strong wind on the range," said Burke. "I had the opportunity to train in similar conditions yesterday afternoon and I feel like I put together a good game plan for today. Since the wind was so variable from one one shot to the next, I decided to 'shade' today instead of adjusting my sights. Shading is a technique where you actually aim off of the target, knowing that the wind will blow the shot to the center. This worked well for me and put me in a position to fight for a top spot. I hope this result will help me build momentum as we head into the biggest races of the year with the U.S. World Cup and world championships."
Windisch came from the third position after the final standing stage to claim his first career World Cup win with four penalties and a time of 40:37.1. Second place went to Germany's Benedikt Doll, also with four penalties, 4.1 seconds back, while France's Quentin Fillon Maillet was third, with three penalties, 8.6 seconds behind Windisch.
Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) finished 20th with five penalties and a time of 42:23.8.
"I definitely wasn't that happy with the way the race went today," Bailey commented. "I was not aggressive enough in my judgement of the wind during the first prone, and didn't account for the increase. This put my first two shots out, and left me with two penalties right off the bat - not the way you hope to start a mass start. I was able to come back a little bit in the second prone, but I had another two misses in the second standing which put me out of contact with the lead. It's frustrating and I know I can shoot better than that, but nothing to do now except look forward and focus on the next race."
Full men's mass start results are available here.
In the women's 12.5km mass start, the wind continued along with a bit of light snow as the race started just 45 minutes after the men finished, but the wind was nowhere as violent as it was for the men. Italy's Dorothea Wierer won the first mass start of her career, making it an Italian double after Windisch's win. Wierer had a single penalty in the first prone, but hit the next 15 shots in a row for the victory in 36:50. France's Marie Dorin Habert finished second, also with one penalty, 20.8 seconds back, and Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic finished third, with one penalty, 50.2 seconds behind Wierer.
The lone American in the race, Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), struggled on course with 10 penalties and finished 30th in 43:14.9.
"I was not happy with my performance by the time I arrived at the finish today, but I felt very appreciative of the North American fans who cheered me all the way in," said Dunklee.
Full women's mass start results are available here.
The BMW IBU World Cup 7 concludes on Sunday with the single mixed relay at 12:10 p.m. EST, followed by the mixed 2x6+2x7.5km relay at 4:05 p.m. EST. Both races will be streamed live at www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu.
Men's 15km mass start results
|1.||Dominik Windisch (ITA)||40:37.1/+4|
|2.||Benedikt Doll (GER)||40:41.2/+4|
|3.||Quentin Fillon Maillet (FRA)||40:45.7/+3|
|7.||Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.)||41:00.9/+3|
|20.||Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.)
Women's 12.5km mass start results
|1.||Dorothea Wierer (ITA)||36:50.0/+1|
|2.||Marie Dorin Habert (FRA)||37:10.8/+1|
|3.||Gabriela Soukalova (CZE)||37:40.3/+1|
|30.||Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)