Bailey Paces Team USA in Kontiolahti Mass Start

By Bill Kellick | March 11, 2018, 3:53 p.m. (ET)

KONTIOLAHTI, Finland (March 11, 2018) – Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.) turned in the top performance for Team USA in Sunday’s mass start races as the BMW IBU World Cup 7 came to a close in Kontiolahti, Finland. Bailey finished 14th in the men’s 15-kilometer mass start race, with two penalties on the range, 1 minute, 6.3 seconds off the pace.

Cleaning both prone stages, Bailey moved into fourth place out on the course, but a miss in each of his standing stages bumped him back to 14th at the finish.

"Glad to finally be in the mix," Bailey said. "I felt good on the tracks and in the range today. Although it could have been much better without missing those last shots in standing, I'm still happy to see my ski speed improve. Better late than never."

Austria’s Julian Eberhard came from 17.2 seconds back after the final standing stage, flying over the last 3k loop to claim his first-ever mass start victory in 38:04.8. Eberhard, with two penalties, made his final move after tangling skis with Russia’s Anton Shipulin and then quickly passing France’s Martin Fourcade who finished second, also with two penalties, 6.9 seconds back. Shipulin, with one penalty, finished third, 19.3 seconds behind Eberhard.

Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) finished 30th with six penalties, 3:59 back of Eberhard’s time.

Later in the day, the women’s 12.5k mass start got underway with American Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) in the mix. Coming off a career-best 13th-place finish in the sprint, Egan again started strong hitting 14 of her first 15 targets on the range to move into 15th place. However, three penalties at the final standing stage knocked her back to 23rd place at the finish, 2:05.6 off the pace. Still, it was another career-best performance for Egan in the mass start, besting a 24th place at the 2017 IBU World Championships.

“Last year, in my first mass start, I felt like an imposter, but this year was completely different,” said Egan of racing against the top names in women’s biathlon. “I knew I deserved to be there and competed in the mix with the top women. My first three stages and my skiing were all good, but unfortunately I unraveled in my final stage. I am motivated to do even better in our upcoming final week of World Cup racing in Oslo.”

Germany’s Vanessa Hinz claimed her first-ever World Cup win and first-ever podium, shooting clean to win the women’s mass start in 35:47.9. Second place, also a career best, went to Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi, with one penalty, 13.5 seconds back. France’s Anais Chevalier, also with one penalty, finished third, 16.8 seconds behind Hinz.

The next stop on the circuit, the BMW IBU World Cup 8, opens in Oslo, Norway, on Thursday, March 15, and runs through Sunday, March 18.

Men’s 15k mass start results

1.

Julian Eberhard (AUT)

38:04.8/+2

2.

Martin Fourcade (FRA)

+6.9/+2

3.

Anton Shipulin (RUS)

+19.3/+1

14.

Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, N.Y.)

+1:06.3/+2

30.

Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.)

+3:59.0/+6

 

Women’s 12.5k mass start results

1.

Vanessa Hinz (GER)

35:47.9/+0

2.

Lisa Vittozzi (ITA)

+13.5/+1

3.

Anais Chevalier (FRA)

+16.8/+1

23.

Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)

+2:05.6/+4