US Biathlon U.S. Women Race to 1...

U.S. Women Race to 13th in Antholz Relay

By Bill Kellick | Jan. 22, 2017, 11 a.m. (ET)

Photos from the women's 4x6km relay and men's 15km mass start on Jan. 22, 2017 at BMW IBU World Cup 6 in Antholz, Italy

ANTHOLZ, Italy (January 22, 2017) – The U.S. women's team challenged the world's best on Sunday in the 4x6-kilometer relay at the BMW IBU World Cup 6 in Antholz. The foursome of Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Joanne Reid (Boulder, Colo.) and Maddie Phaneuf (Old Forge, N.Y.) was as high as second place at the midway point of the race before falling off the pace to finish 13th.

Egan got the squad off to a solid start, cleaning from the prone position to move the team up to fourth place, just three seconds from the lead. Despite needing an extra round in standing, Egan made the first exchange with Dunklee in ninth place, 21 seconds off the front.

"I love mass start racing but rarely get to do it," said Egan. "This was a great race for me and a good confidence boost going into world championships."

Dunklee turned on the jets from the get-go, making up nine seconds on the leader in the first kilometer and vaulting into fifth place. She needed two extra shots in prone, but with all the leaders failing to clean, Dunklee was into fourth place, 30 seconds back. Her ski speed continued to sizzle on the tracks and Dunklee moved the team into second place after a clean and fast standing shoot. 

"Head-to-head shooting and hunting people down on skis are two of my favorite racing experiences, so I was thrilled with today," Dunklee said.

When she tagged off to Reid, the Americans were still in second place, 32 seconds from the front.

Experiencing her first full season on the World Cup circuit, Reid hung tough with the chase group, cleaning from the prone position to keep the U.S. team in the mix in fifth place, still only 21 seconds from first. However, things came unraveled for Reid in the standing stage. After using all three spares she still had two targets standing which sent her to the penalty loop for two laps. By the time she was back on course Reid was in 13th place, two minutes behind.

Phaneuf took the final exchange from Reid in 13th place and was nearly perfect on the range, needing only 11 shots to hit the 10 targets. 

"I was way less nervous today than I had been for our last relay," said Phaneuf. "The atmosphere here in Antholz is absolutely incredible. So many fans, plus the sun is always shining and the trails are fast. I love racing here."

Phaneuf briefly moved up to 10th place after her clean prone, but faded back to 13th at the finish line, 2:46.5 off the lead.

"Today, my goal was to feel good on the skis and do what I know how to do in the range," Phaneuf added. "I was pleased with my shooting and happy to feel like my ski speed is getting better with each race. Today shows that we can be competitive with these girls in the relay. We're not quite at the top yet, but I think world championships will be exciting."

"We had a great day and I am proud of how every one of my teammates performed and the effort they gave," commented Dunklee. "This race sends us into our pre-world championships training camp on a good note."

The German team of Vanessa Hinz, Maren Hammerschmidt, Franziska Hildebrand and Laura Dahlmeier dominated the women's relay. Despite 12 spare rounds, they won in 1:09:12.4 with a comfortable margin of 24.2 seconds over France, who had just eight spares. Home-crowd favorite Italy took the last spot on the podium, with nine spares, 33.4 seconds behind Germany. Full women's relay results are available here.

A few hours before the women's relay, the men's 15k mass start was held with Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) the lone U.S. athlete in the 30-man field. Bailey sat in fourth place, 4.3 seconds back after a clean opening prone and followed that up with another clean prone stage to move into second place, less than a second behind leader Dmytro Pidruchnyi of Ukraine. However, one miss in each of the standing stages pushed Bailey back to 16th at the finish, 1:33.4 off the winning time.

"Happy with the way things went today given the grueling schedule we've had over the last three days," Bailey said. "I definitely felt a little tired towards the end of the race, but all in all I'm happy with the weekend and looking forward to a good world championships preparation camp over the next two weeks."

Norway's Johannes Thingnes Boe claimed his first win of the season after coming back from illness. Boe shot clean and covered the course in 37:04.3. France's Quentin Fillon Maillet was second with one penalty, 3.7 seconds back. Russia's Anton Shipulin took third, also with one penalty, 21.7 seconds behind Boe. Full men's mass start results are available here.

The attention now shifts to the IBU World Championships scheduled for Feb. 9-19 in Hochfilzen, Austria.

Women’s 4x6km relay results

1.

Germany (Hinz, Hammerschmidt, Hildebrand, Dahlmeier) 

1:09:12.4/0+12

2.

France (Chevalier, Braisaz, Bescond, Dorin Habert) 

+24.2/0+8

3.

Italy (Vittozzi, Sanfilippo, Runggaldier, Wierer)

+33.4/0+9

13. 

USA (Egan, Dunklee, Reid, Phaneuf)

+2:46.5/2+7


Men's 15km mass start results

1.

Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR) 

37:04.3/+0

2.

Quentin Fillon Maillet (FRA)

+3.7/+1

3.

Anton Shipulin (RUS)

+21.7/+1

16. 

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) 

+1:33.4/+2

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Lowell Bailey

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