Burke's 26th Leads U.S. Pursuit Efforts in Oberhof

Photos from the pursuit races on Jan. 7, 2017, at BMW IBU World Cup 4 in Oberhof, Germany

By Bill Kellick | Jan. 07, 2017, 10:47 a.m. (ET)

OBERHOF, Germany (January 7, 2017) –  Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) turned in the top performance for the American team during Saturday's pursuit races at the BMW IBU World Cup 4 in Oberhof. Burke placed 26th in the men's 12.5-kilometer pursuit, crossing the line 3 minutes, 18.9 seconds behind the winner.

A sold-out DKB Arena was rocking despite the change in weather from Friday's sunshine and windless conditions. Saturday's competitors faced strong winds and temperatures in the teens, making for an especially tough day on the shooting range. Nobody in either race shot clean and only two athletes had but one missed target.

The wind didn't seem to bother Burke early in the race as he cleaned both prones, moving him up 19 places to 16th. However, things grew tougher in the standing with Burke missing two targets at each stage dropping him back to 26th at the finish.

"Today was another challenging race with extremely windy and cold conditions," said Burke. "Considering the conditions, I am happy with my performance today. It's always good to move up in the pursuit and I feel like my ski shape is getting better with each race. Hopefully I can continue this trend next week in Ruhpolding."

Also moving up the standings in the men's race was Russell Currier (Stockholm, Maine) who climbed 12 places, with 15 of 20 shooting, to finish 34th and earn seven World Cup points.

"It's been four years since I last finished in the points," Currier pointed out. "It was frustrating knowing I could do it, but never being able to execute on the few chances there were. Today was the sign of progress I've been training for all year."

World Cup points leader Martin Fourcade of France claimed his eighth win of the season, winning the men's pursuit in 36:45.7. He was one of the only two athletes in either race with just one penalty. Germany's Arnd Peiffer finished a distant second, 1:09.9 back with three penalties. Italy's Dominik Windisch matched his third place from Friday's sprint, 1:32.4 behind Fourcade with five penalties. Full men's pursuit results are available here.

In the women's 10k pursuit, held a few hours after the men's race, the American women struggled with the conditions on the shooting range. Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) and Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) both improved their starting positions only slightly. Dunklee, with nine penalties, placed 44th, and Egan, with seven penalties, finished 49th. They were 49th and 51st off the start line, respectively.

"We knew it was going to be a wild ride, having watched the men's race," Egan said. "One of the biggest challenges in cold weather is keeping your fingers warm-- helpful for shooting-- and I was well-prepared with hand-warmers between glove liners and gloves. My first five prone shots were well-grouped on the bottom edge of the target, so once I got that information from the coaches on course it was an easy fix with an adjustment of three clicks on my sight, but the damage was already done. It is hard to come back from four penalties on the first stage... but I almost did! My next two stages were both clean, though I took my time on the range to avoid wind gusts. On the last stage I lost focus and three shots went to the wind. I passed someone in the finishing lanes, had two clean stages, and moved up three places- so that's what I am taking away from today's effort. We had great skis!"

France's Marie Dorin Habert moved up from third in Friday's sprint to win the women's pursuit with two penalties and a time of 34:33.3. Czech Republic's Gabriela Koukalova finished second, with three penalties and 38.8 seconds back, while Finland's Kaisa Makarainen was third with four penalties, 1:19.1 behind Dorin Habert. Full women's pursuit results are available here.

"We had cold temperatures amplified by a brisk wind," said Dunklee of the conditions. "I tried to draft someone on every loop entering the stadium because of the strong headwind. I am capable of shooting a lot better than I have these past couple days and now I am focusing on putting together a strong performance for tomorrow."

Dunklee will be the lone U.S. competitor in the women's mass start on Sunday as the BMW IBU World Cup 4 wraps up in Oberhof. The men's 15k race begins at 6:30 a.m. EST, while Dunklee will toe the line in the women's 12.5k event starting at 8:40 a.m. EST. Live streaming coverage of the races can be seen at www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu.

Men’s 12.5km pursuit results

1.

Martin Fourcade (FRA)

36:45.7/+1

2.

Arnd Peiffer (GER)

+1:09.9/+3

3.

Dominik Windisch (ITA)

+1:32.4/+5

26.

Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.)

+3:18.9/+4

34. 

Russell Currier (Stockholm, Maine)

+4:29.8/+5


Women’s 10km pursuit results

1.

Marie Dorin Habert (FRA)

34:33.3/+2

2.

Gabriela Koukalova (CZE)

+38.8/+3

3.

Kaisa Makarainen (FIN)

+1:19.1/+4

44.

Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)

+6:20.4/+9

49.  

Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) 

+7:25.6/+7