Burke's 32nd leads U.S. in Ostersund 20k

By Bill Kellick | Nov. 30, 2017, 1:54 p.m. (ET)

OSTERSUND, Sweden (November 30, 2017) – Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) turned in the top performance for the American team during Thursday’s men’s 20-kilometer individual race at the BMW IBU World Cup 1 in Ostersund. Burke placed 32nd in the field of 108, crossing the line 5 minutes, 24.2 seconds behind the winner.

After the women had to endure a very cold 12 degrees Fahrenheit evening on Wednesday for their 15k, the men got a bit of a break with the temperature a bit warmer at 23 degrees and the wind staying fairly calm but at times shifting from left to right on the shooting range. The shifting wind limited the clean shooting, with only five men dropping every target, compared to the dozen women yesterday.

Burke battled the tricky winds on the shooting range early on, missing three of his first 10 targets, but settled into a rhythm in the second half of the race which saw him clean his last 10 targets.

“The conditions on the range today were a little windy but it was very doable,” said Burke. “The wind stayed pretty consistent from zero so we were prepared for the race condition. I feel like I was just a bit rusty today in those first two stages. I tried to be a bit too controlling and that never ends up working well for me. During the last two stages I was able to shoot more reaction and I am happy with how that turned out. I will try to remember that feeling for the next races.”

Burke used steady skiing on the Ostersund course to earn his top-40 finish.

“I am pleased with my skiing today. This was definitely not my best performance but it's a good place to start the season. Unfortunately, we were not able to ski for the 10 days prior to arriving here, so we definitely have less snow time than pretty much everyone that we are competing against. I am hopeful that I will continue to feel better with each race.”

Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) also placed in the top 40, finishing 38th with just two penalties and 5:50 back. Other U.S. finishers were Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) in 63rd, Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) in 67th, and Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.) in 69th.

Bailey, the defending world champion in the 20k, was racing in his first event of the season after sitting out Sunday’s relay due to congestion.

“Tough start,” Bailey said. “I definitely felt a bit stale today, both on the ski course and in the shooting range. With the fresh snow that fell overnight, the conditions were really challenging and I definitely didn't feel like I was at my best on the tracks. I'll regroup tomorrow and start looking toward the next race on Saturday.

Norway’s Johannes Thingnes Boe, with a perfect 20-for20 shooting day, won the men’s 20k individual in 53:24.5. It was Boe’s 14th career victory but first in the 20k. He left the field more than two minutes behind with French teammates Quentin Fillon Maillet, also shooting clean, and Martin Fourcade, with two penalties, finishing second and third, 2:01 and 2:14.3 back, respectively.

The world cup in Ostersund continues on Friday with the women’s 7.5-kilometer sprint. On the start list for the U.S. team are Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) and Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.).

Men’s 20k results

1.

Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR)

53:24.5/+0

2.

Quentin Fillon Maillet (FRA)

+2:01.0/+0

3.

Martin Fourcade (FRA)

+2:14.3/+2

32.

Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.)

+5:24.2/+3

38.

Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.)

+5:50.0/+2

63.

Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.)

+8:06.0/+3

67.

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.)

+8:11.0/+4

69.

Paul Schommer (Appleton, Wis.)

+8:12.3/+4