Quick-Shooting Bailey 10th in Antholz 20k

Photos from the men's 20k individual race on Jan. 20, 2017 at BMW IBU World Cup 6 in Antholz, Italy

By Bill Kellick | Jan. 20, 2017, 11:02 a.m. (ET)

ANTHOLZ, Italy (January 20, 2017) – Team USA enjoyed a fantastic day on the track in sunny Antholz on Friday with all five American athletes earning World Cup points by finishing in the top 40 of the men's individual 20-kilometer race at the BMW IBU World Cup 6.

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) led the charge with a 10th-place finish after hitting 19 of 20 targets on the range. Quick shooting was the key for Bailey as he posted the fourth-fastest shooting time and eighth-best range time among the 105 competitors. Bailey's only miss came on his third shot in the final standing stage and he finished 1:39.1 back of winner Anton Shipulin of Russia.

"The conditions were great here today; sunny skies, cold and fast snow, and little wind," Bailey said. "This is a brutal 20-kilometer, with each four kilometer loop starting with nearly one kilometer of climb out of the stadium. I tried to maintain a good pace but with the intention to stay consistent in my splits throughout the race. Towards the end, I wasn't quite able to stay on my same pace, but I fought to the line and stayed just ahead of Bene Doll."

Bailey was also pleased with the entire team effort today.

"It was a great day for the U.S. men as well, with all five guys in the top 36," he added. "I'm excited to see how this strong team performance will play out in tomorrow's relay."

Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) turned in one of the best performances of his career with a 29th-place finish, missing only two targets to finish four minutes back.

"I started the race pretty conservatively," said Nordgren. "The altitude combined with the length of the race made for a pretty tough day and I didn't want to start off too strong. Missing two shots today was one too many to have a really good result, but I'm happy with 29th." 

Nordgren is still on the comeback trail after suffering an early-season training injury that required surgery on his toe.

"Considering the start to the season that I've had, I'll take it," he added. "I can still tell that my ski shape is lacking a little bit, but with more races it is coming around. I had a chance to follow some good skiers today and it was a good checkup to know I'm on the right track. I died a little bit on the last loop, maybe I paid the price for following faster guys on earlier loops. Overall, I'm happy with the race today and I think as a team we're looking forward to the relay tomorrow."

Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.), Tim Burke (Paul Smths, N.Y.) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) rounded out the solid effort from Team USA. Schommer was 33rd (+4:16.6/+2), Burke finished 34th (+4:36.5/+4) and Doherty was 36th (+4:41.6/+3).

For Schommer, it was a remarkable performance in his first career World Cup event. He had three clean stages and hit 18 of 20 targets.

"(It) was an awesome day in Antholz and I was just stoked to be out there racing," Schommer said. "First World Cup start brings lots of emotions, but for me I was just thankful to have the opportunity to race. It's easy to lose focus on the range with thousands of fans around, but I knew the task is no different in front of thousands or one."

Shipulin claimed his first victory of the season with just a single penalty, finishing in 50:38.1. Martin Fourcade of France picked up two penalties and finished second, 41 seconds back. Ukraine's Sergey Semenov, with two penalties, had his first podium of the season, finishing third, 56.8 seconds behind Shipulin. Full men's 20k individual results are available here.

The BMW IBU World Cup 6 continues on Saturday with the women's mass start beginning at 7:30 a.m. EST, followed by the men's 4x7.5k relay at 9:15 a.m. EST. Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) will compete for Team USA in the women's mass start. Teaming up for the men's relay will be Bailey, Nordgren, Burke and Doherty. Live streaming coverage can be seen at www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu.

Men’s 20km individual results

1.

Anton Shipulin (RUS)

50:38.1/+1

2.

Martin Fourcade (FRA)

+41.0/+2

3.

Sergey Semenov (UKR)

+56.8/+1

10. 

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.)

+1:39.1/+1

29.

Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.)

+4:00.1/+2

33.

Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.)

+4:16.6/+2
34. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.)  +4:36.5/+4
36. Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.)  +4:41.6/+3