US Biathlon Gusty Wind Blows Tea...

Gusty Wind Blows Team USA Off Target in Antholz

By Bill Kellick | Jan. 19, 2017, 11:13 a.m. (ET)

Photos from the women's 15k individual race on Jan. 19, 2017 at BMW IBU World Cup 6 in Antholz, Italy

ANTHOLZ, Italy (January 19, 2017) – The women's 15-kilometer individual race opened the BMW IBU World Cup 6 on Thursday in Antholz on a sunny but very windy day. The 100-woman field battled the tricky winds that went from calm to gusty throughout the competition. None of the 100 competitors shot clean on all 20 targets, and only four had just one miss.

For the four women on Team USA, a combined 27 misses resulted in an extra 27 minutes being added to their ski times. Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) was the top American finisher in 59th place. Despite a great day on the skis, Egan was thwarted by six penalties, including four at the first standing stage, to put her 6:58.6 back of the top time at the finish.

"I had the fastest skis I've ever had in my life today, and three out of four good shooting stages," said Egan. "Unfortunately, a stupid mistake in the first standing stage foiled any chance I had at a good result. I tried to shoot through gusting wind instead of waiting until I could take a good shot. I made a strong comeback from that point on, but 59th place is hardly what I was hoping for."

Teammate Joanne Reid (Boulder, Colo.) also had six penalties to finish 60th, seven seconds behind Egan's time.

"There were definitely some gusts out there today, and what could be tricky conditions if you didn't adapt correctly to them," Reid said. "Wind is a lifetime learning experience -- every race, every range, every point, and every day is different, so you'll never know exactly what you're supposed to do, or what you should have done in any situation. Biathlon is by its very nature sinusoidal, and it's unfortunate when those troughs hit us all at the same time."

Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), with eight penalties, and Maddie Phaneuf (Old Forge, N.Y.), with seven penalties, finished 71st and 81st, respectively.

"I think as a team we displayed some incredible bravery out there," added Reid. "It can be mentally very tough to keep fighting when you know how many minutes you lost. I especially salute Susan for her ability to come back from races like this with incredible grace, considering the high expectations constantly placed upon her. And Maddie, of course, our youngest, who is trying to adjust to a whole different level of skiers in an unfamiliar environment. Everyone has to start somewhere, and it's tough to remember that sometimes with veterans on the team like Tim (Burke) and Lowell (Bailey), who have been starting biathlon races for almost as long as Maddie has been alive."

Germany's Laura Dahlmeier won the battle with the gusty winds on the shooting range, recording just two penalties to win the race with a time of 44:48.7. The victory gave the German star an 11-point lead in the World Cup standings over Gabriela Koukalova of Czech Republic. Koukalova placed 24th on Thursday with six penalties. France's Anais Chevalier challenged Dahlmeier for the win with one shooting penalty, but finished second, 3.8 seconds back. Local Italian favorite Alexia Runggaldier placed third with one penalty, 46 seconds behind, for her first career podium. Full women's 15k individual results are available here.

With only Dunklee qualifying for Saturday's mass start, the rest of the team now shifts its focus to Sunday's relay.

"I know the four of us are eager to redeem ourselves in Sunday's 4x6k women's relay," Egan said.

The BMW IBU World Cup 6 continues on Friday with the men's 20k individual. In action for Team USA will be Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.), Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.), Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) and Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.). Live streaming coverage begins at 8:15 a.m. EST at www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu.

Women’s 15km individual results

1.

Laura Dahlmeier (GER)

44:48.7/+2

2.

Anais Chevalier (FRA)

+3.8/+1

3.

Alexia Runggaldier (ITA)

+46.0/+1

59. 

Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)

+6:58.6/+6

60.

Joanne Reid (Boulder, Colo.)

+7:05.2/+6

71.

Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)

+7:58.0/+8
81. Maddie Phaneuf (Old Forge, N.Y.)  +9:18.9/+7

Related Athletes

head shot

Clare Egan

Biathlon
head shot

Joanne Reid

Biathlon
head shot

Susan Dunklee

Biathlon
head shot

Maddie Phaneuf

Biathlon