Disappointing day for men’s relay in Ruhpolding

By Bill Kellick | Jan. 12, 2018, 5:09 p.m. (ET)

RUHPOLDING, Germany (January 12, 2018) – A promising start finished in disappointment for the U.S. men’s 4x7.5-kilometer relay Friday with a 24th-place finish at the BMW IBU World Cup in Ruhpolding.

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) got Team USA off to a great beginning after starting deep in the field in the 24th position. After cleaning from prone and exiting the shooting range with the leaders in fourth place, Bailey charged to the front to set the pace for much of the second loop.

“After being sick last week, I wasn't sure how my ski speed would be coming into these races,” Bailey said. “I was happy to put together a good race on the track and in the range. The first lap was a bit of a roller derby with no easy way to get to the front. I was fortunate to clean without extra rounds because this allowed me to leapfrog up to the lead pack exiting the range. I tried to keep an even pace for loop two and I thought I would be able to hang in second or third, but no one wanted to pass so I had to lead for most of the loop.” 

Bailey continued to apply the pressure with another clean round in standing to hold down fifth place, just 6.2 seconds from the lead.

“I had struggled in standing in the previous race so I wanted to get back to taking good shots in standing. Although I didn't shoot as quickly as some of the other guys, I felt good about the stage and the fact that I didn't have to use extras. It was a fight to catch the lead group on the last loop, but fortunately I had some help from (Thomas) Bormolini (of Italy) and we worked together to get back in contact with the lead group.” 

When Bailey made the first exchange to Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.), the Americans were just 3.1 seconds out of the lead in fourth place. Trouble on the shooting range, however, would prove to be the team’s downfall in the later stages of the race. Nordgren, Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, N.Y.) and Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) combined for eight penalties and 13 spare rounds to put them out of the running. The big blow came when the team’s time was adjusted with penalties due to a crossfire on the last leg.

Despite today’s finish, Bailey knows the team will be a contender in the upcoming Olympic Games in PyeongChang next month.

“We have a solid team and I know we didn't show our true potential today,” said Bailey. “But the most important relay is still to come. We'll just have to wait until then.”

The BMW IBU World Cup in Ruhpolding continues on Saturday with the women’s 4x6km relay. The U.S. squad will feature 2018 U.S. Olympic Biathlon Team members Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.) and Joanne Reid (Boulder, Colo.). The race begins at 8:30 a.m. EST and will be streamed live on the Olympic Channel website at https://www.olympicchannel.com/en/.

Men’s 4x7.5km relay results
1. Norway (Birkeland, T. Boe, Svendsen, J. Boe) 1:13:11.1/0+7
2. France (Desthieux, Fillon Maillet, Fourcade, Guigonnat) +24.9/0+6
3. Russia (Volkov, Tsvetkov, Babikov, Shipulin) +53.4/0+4
24. USA (Bailey, Nordgren, Burke, Doherty) +16:21.6/8+13