OSLO, Norway (March 17, 2017) – The final world cup event of the season opened on Friday and it resulted in more of the same from American Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.). Dunklee raced to a seventh-place finish in the women's 7.5-kilometer sprint on the first day of the BMW IBU World Cup 9 at Holmenkollen Ski Stadium. It marked Dunklee's sixth top-10 finish in her last seven individual races.
A blazing start keyed Dunklee's performance on Friday. She clocked the fastest time on the first loop and the second-fastest range time as she cleaned all five targets from the prone position. Her cumulative time on the loop was a whopping 21.7 seconds better than the next-quickest time set by Czech Republic's Veronika Vitkova.
"I tried out a bold strategy on the ski course and sprinted full out during the first loop," said Dunklee. "It certainly made for a dramatic race, but ultimately it was not a sustainable pace for my current fitness level. I felt like I had rammed into a wall during the final two loops."
Dunklee's pace slowed to the ninth-fastest course time on the second loop and 30th-best on the final circuit. Coupled with two misses in the standing position, it dashed any hopes for a podium finish.
"I had mild wind in both stages," Dunklee added. "I dealt well with it in prone and I don't think it affected my standing too much. My misses were simply bad shots. The organizers did a good job of salting the snow to make the tracks firm in spite of the warm weather. We also had a great crowd of spectators. It's always a pleasure to race in Holmenkollen."
Finland's clean-shooting Mari Laukkanen claimed her first-ever world cup victory, finishing in 20 minutes, 33.5 seconds. France's Justine Braisaz, also shooting clean, finished second, 7.9 seconds back. Braisaz's teammate Anais Bescond also cleaned to finish third, 23.1 seconds behind Laukkanen.
Dunklee was 56.7 seconds off the pace and will be joined in Saturday's 10km pursuit by teammate Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine). Egan had only one penalty on the range and finished 34th, 2:03.7 back of the lead. The third American woman in the race, Joanne Reid (Boulder, Colo.), placed 80th with five penalties, 3:32.2 behind.
"We have an incredible team of ski service technicians and coaching staff who plan to give 110 percent until the last race is done, and I know they'll provide the best support possible," said Dunklee looking ahead to tomorrow's pursuit and Sunday's mass start. "I have two tremendous opportunities still in front of me with these last races and I don't plan on wasting them."
In the men's 10km sprint held earlier in the day, Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) and Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) both qualified for Saturday's pursuit by finishing 35th and 44th, respectively. Both athletes cleaned in the prone position but struggled in standing with Doherty (+1:33) missing two and Bailey (+1:51.6) missing three. Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.) placed 98th (+3:41.9) and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) was 100th (+4:07.9), each with three penalties.
Norway's Johannes Thingnes Boe took the gold medal with clean shooting and a time of 24:53.3. France's Martin Fourcade, with one penalty, was second, 13.6 seconds back, while Russia's Anton Shipulin claimed the bronze medal, 21.3 seconds behind Boe, also with clean shooting.
The BMW IBU World Cup 9 continues on Saturday with the men's and women's pursuit races. The women's 10km pursuit, featuring Dunklee and Egan, begins at 7:45 a.m. EDT, followed by the men's 12.5km pursuit with Doherty and Bailey at 10:00 a.m. Both races will be streamed live on Eurovision. The broadcast schedule for NBC's UniversalHD channel's same-day coverage is also listed below with all times shown as EDT.
Women's 7.5km sprint results
|1.||Mari Laukkanen (FIN)||20:33.5/+0|
|2.||Justine Braisaz (FRA)||+7.9/+0|
|3.||Anais Bescond (FRA)||+23.1/+0|
||Susan Dunklee(Barton, Vt.)
|34.||Clare Egan(Cape Elizabeth, Maine)||+2:03.7/+1|
|80.||Joanne Reid(Boulder, Colo.)||+3:32.2/+5|
Men's 10km sprint results
|1.||Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR)||24:53.3/+0|
|2.||Martin Fourcade (FRA)||+13.6/+1|
|3.||Anton Shipulin (RUS)||+21.3/+0|
||Sean Doherty:Center Conway, N.H.)
|44.||Lowell Bailey(Lake Placid, N.Y.)||+1:51.6/+3|
|98.||Paul Schommer(Appleton, Wis.)
||Leif Nordgren(Marine, Minn.)
Broadcast schedule (all times Eastern)
Women's sprint 9:00 a.m.
Men's sprint 11:30 a.m.
|Men's and women's sprints (same-day) 6-8 p.m.|
Women's pursuit 7:45 a.m.
Men's pursuit 10:00 a.m.
Men's and women's pursuits (same-day) 8-9:30 p.m.
Women's mass start 6:15 a.m.
Men's mass start 8:30 a.m.
Men's & women's mass starts (same-day) 7-9 p.m.