Top-10 finish for U.S. men in Hochfilzen relay

By Bill Kellick | Dec. 10, 2017, 9:50 a.m. (ET)

HOCHFILZEN, Austria (December 10, 2017) – The U.S. men’s team raced to a top-10 finish Sunday in the 4x7.5-kilometer relay as the BMW IBU World Cup 2 came to a close in windy Hochfilzen. The squad of Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) placed ninth in the 26-team field, finishing three minutes, 38.3 seconds back with three penalties and 13 spares.

Two days of heavy snow turned into overcast skies for the men’s relay, with temperatures at minus 10 Celsius. The wind was gusty at first but picked up dramatically from the left, making shooting extremely difficult. This led to 56 penalties for the 17 teams that finished and an additional 47 penalties for the eight teams that were lapped and did not finish.

Bailey got things going with a strong start, cleaning from prone before using three spares in standing. He made the exchange to Nordgren with the team in third place, just 23.8 seconds back of the lead.

Nordgren used three spares and had one penalty from prone but rebounded to clean from standing and tagged off to Burke in seventh position. Burke maintained that position with one spare in prone and three spares plus a penalty in standing.

Doherty went clean in prone and finished with three spares and a penalty in standing to secure the top-10 finish for the American quartet.

The Norwegian team of Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Henrik L’Abee-Lund, Erlend Bjoentegaard and Lars Helge Birkeland battled the windy conditions to win the men’s relay with nine spares in 1:21:21.8. The Norwegians crossed the finish line with a huge winning margin of 1:54.9 over second place Germany who had 17 spares. France finished third, with three penalties and 13 spares, 2:34 behind.

The teams now travel to Annecy-Le Grand Bornand, France, for BMW IBU World Cup 3 taking place Dec. 14-17.

Men’s relay results
1. Norway (Bjoerndalen, L’Abee-Lund, Bjoentegaard, Birkeland) 1:21:21.8/0+9
2. Germany (Lesser, Doll, Peiffer, Schempp) +1:54.9/0+17
3. France (Beatrix, Desthieux, Jacquelin, Fillon Maillet) +2:34.0/3+13
9. USA (Bailey, Nordgren, Burke, Doherty) +3:38.3/3+13