US Biathlon Solid 6th for Team U...

Solid 6th for Team USA in Antholz Men's Relay

By Bill Kellick | Jan. 21, 2017, 10:39 a.m. (ET)

Photos from the men's relay and women's mass start on Jan. 21, 2017 at BMW IBU World Cup 6 in Antholz, Italy

ANTHOLZ, Italy (January 21, 2017) – Team USA turned in its best relay performance of the season on Saturday in the men's 4x7.5-kilometer event on the penultimate day of the BMW IBU World Cup 6 in Antholz. The foursome of Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.), Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.), Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) was in the mix for a podium spot for the majority of the race before finishing in sixth place among the 25 teams.

Bailey needed just one spare in both prone and standing on the opening leg as he made the first exchange with Nordgren in sixth place, 8.6 seconds from the lead.

"Today we showed that we are competitive with the best in the world," Bailey said. "With 10 extra rounds, this is far from our best, but it is a big step in the right direction and exactly where we want to be heading into world champs."

Nordgren moved the team into third with two spares in prone and one in standing. He left the range just 11.9 seconds behind the leader after standing, but fell back to ninth by the time he made the second exchange with Burke, now 27.6 seconds back.

"Happy with the effort today," said Nordgren. "It was nice to ski with the lead group on the first loop. I had a bit of a gap after the tag from Lowell, but it was no problem to reel them in eventually. It was a big bummer to miss two in prone, but the rest of the group also missed so I was able to leave towards the front. Since I haven't done much racing this year and my shape is kind of questionable, I didn't want to push that loop too hard. In standing, I got away with one spare, also not perfect but I left the range in third. In the last loop I was holding on for dear life, those other guys have a lot more racing under their belts this year. I have four (races), so that made for a hard loop. The other guys really had a great race, though."

Like Bailey, Nordgren is also excited for the upcoming world championships.

"This was a good result to have before world champs, and I think we're all looking forward to the relay there."

After three extra shots in prone, Burke settled down to clean standing from the clip. He tagged off to Doherty in sixth place at the final exchange but with the team still in contention for the podium.

"This was a great race for the team to have going into world championships," said Burke, echoing the sentiments of the entire squad. "The team has struggled this year with injury and illness, so it was important for us to show that we are still among the best in the world."

Doherty started the final leg fast, moving up to fourth place at the 1.1km mark, just eight seconds behind the Russian team for third place. An extra shot in prone bumped Doherty back to sixth again, but the team was still just 16 seconds away from a podium spot. Despite another extra shot in standing, Doherty left the range in fifth, 14 seconds from third-place Russia. He was passed in the final kilometer by Dominik Landertinger of Austria, but held off Quentin Fillon Maillet of France for the sixth-place spot.

"Today's sixth place was a very strong effort for the team," added Doherty. "I am very happy to be skiing up in the mix and looking at the podium. There is still room to improve for world championships but it seems we are headed in the right direction."

Simon Schempp brought the German team to victory in the men's relay, winning a thrilling finish-line sprint by 0.1 seconds over Norway's Emil Hegle Svendsen. The German team of Schempp, Erik Lesser, Benedikt Doll and Arnd Peiffer used seven spares in their 1:13:57.2 victory. Norway used nine spares while early leader Russia, also with nine spares, finished 33.6 seconds back in third place. Full men's relay results are available here.

Earlier in the day, Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) finished 24th in the women's 12.5k mass start. After a clean opening prone, Dunklee briefly took a 2.7 second lead on the rest of the field, but she missed five of her final 15 targets to fade back to 24th.

"It was incredibly satisfying to shoot fast and clean and leave the range in first after the first shooting," Dunklee said. "I hope to build on that in the future and follow it up with a better shooting percentage. My skiing is not at its sharpest; my body is feeling the strain of the high altitude and the intense race schedule."

Clean-shooting Nadine Horchler of Germany surged up the final hill into the stadium to pass Gabriela Koukalova of Czech Republic for the first podium and victory of her career. Horchler finished in 36:11.5, 3.1 seconds ahead of teammate Laura Dahlmeier who had three penalties and also passed Koukalova in the final stretch. Koukalova placed third, eight seconds back with two penalties. Full women's mass start results are available here.

The BMW IBU World Cup 6 concludes on Sunday with the men's 15k mass start beginning at 5:00 a.m. EST, followed by the women's 4x6k relay at 8:45 a.m. EST. Bailey is slated to compete for Team USA in the men's mass start. Teaming up for the women's relay will be Dunklee, Joanne Reid (Boulder, Colo.), Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) and Maddie Phaneuf (Old Forge, N.Y.). Live streaming coverage of both races can be seen at www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu.

Men’s 4x7.5km relay results

1.

Germany (Lesser, Doll, Peiffer, Schempp) 

1:13:57.2/0+7

2.

Norway (Birkeland, L'Abee-Lund, J.T. Boe, Svendsen) 

+0.1/0+9

3.

Russia (Tsvetkov, Garanchev, Malyshko, Babikov)

+33.6/0+9

6. 

USA (Bailey, Nordgren, Burke, Doherty)

+1:04.9/0+10


Women's 12.5km mass start results

1.

Nadine Horchler (GER)

36:11.5/+0

2.

Laura Dahlmeier (GER)

+3.1/+3

3.

Gabriela Koukalova (CZE)

+8.0/+2

24. 

Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)

+1:36.1/+5


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