Dunklee Battles to 7th in Oberhof Pursuit

By Bill Kellick | Jan. 12, 2019, 7:33 a.m. (ET)


Susan Dunklee powers up a climb during Saturday's women's pursuit (photo by NordicFocus)

OBERHOF, Germany (Jan. 12, 2019) – Under challenging conditions, Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.) turned in her best performance of the season on Saturday in the women's 10-kilometer pursuit at the BMW IBU World Cup in Oberhof. Snow showers and blustery wind on the shooting range resulted in none of the 57 women shooting clean. Dunklee herself had five penalties but skied well enough to finish seventh, 1 minute, 1.2 seconds off the winning pace.

"The skiing and shooting were both tricky today," said Dunklee. "We had constantly changing gusts on the range which meant more trips to the penalty loop than normal for most athletes. The tracks were glazed with sections that felt more like an ice rink than a ski trail."

Starting in the 10th position, Dunklee fell back as far as 14th during the race but recovered by limiting her losses with single penalties in her last three shooting stages.

"Today was my strongest ski performance of the season," she added. "Our wax techs nailed the ski preparation and I loved chasing people up Oberhof's famous Birxsteig hill. A top-10 is a super result and I know there are plenty more opportunities to come."

Italy's Lisa Vittozzi won the women's pursuit with two penalties in 32:32.9. Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia took second with four penalties, 14.5 seconds back. France's Anais Chevalier finished third, with five penalties, 27.9 seconds behind Vittozzi.

Team USA's Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine) started in 13th position but had seven penalties on the range, dropping her back to 33rd at the finish. Egan and Dunklee turned in the second- and third-fastest course times on the final lap and heading into next week's mass start event in Ruhpolding, Egan is currently 21st in the World Cup rankings, while Dunklee is 27th.

Where the women had to deal with the tricky wind, the men's pursuit which started a few hours later, also had to contend with heavy, almost blinding snow. Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.), the lone U.S. competitor in the 12.5km men's pursuit, moved up from his 22nd start position to finish 18th, 2:29.9 off the pace.

After two penalties on the opening prone shooting stage knocked him back to 37th place, Doherty went clean the rest of the way to claw his way back into the top 20.

"I am happy to put up a good fight today...on the skis and with the wind on the range," Doherty said. "After the misses in the first prone I regrouped mentally and kept my focus on my own work, not what the wind was doing, and it worked out well. Going to try to do the same tomorrow in the relay."

Norway's Johannes Thingnes Boe won the men's pursuit with three penalties in 34:29.8. Germany's Arnd Peiffer, with one penalty, took second winning a finish-line sprint over Italy's Lukas Hofer to place 15.1 seconds behind Boe.

The BMW IBU World Cup from Oberhof concludes on Sunday with the team relays. The women's 4x6km relay goes off at 5:45 a.m. ET, followed by the men's 4x7.5km relay at 8:30 a.m. ET. Racing for Team USA in the women's relay will be Dunklee, Egan, Joanne Reid (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vt.). The men's relay team will consist of Doherty, Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn., Travis Cooper (Kenai, Alaska) and Max Durtschi (Ketchum, Idaho).

WAYS TO WATCH:
Fans can watch a same-day replay of World Cup races on the Olympic Channel (check your local listings).

There will be live streaming coverage each day on NBC Sports Gold and OlympicChannel.com, as well as simulstreams of the Olympic Channel and NBCSN broadcasts.

Streams will be available on all digital platforms: desktop via NBCSports.com/Gold, and mobile, tablet and connected television platforms via the NBC Sports Gold app.

They will also be available on OlympicChannel.com and the Olympic Channel app. Broadcast simulstreams will be available on NBCSports.com/live or the NBC Sports app (and do not require a Gold subscription to watch).

The NBC Sports Gold premium package will give paid subscribers commercial-free access to each event across the span of the competition. Users can subscribe to the NBC Sports Gold Snow Pass here: https://www.nbcsports.com/gold/snow.

Replay with commentary is also available thru www.eurovisionsports.tv/ibu.

Women’s 10km pursuit results

1.

Lisa Vittozzi (ITA)

32:32.9/+2

2.

Anastasiya Kuzmina (SVK)

+14.5/+4

3.

Anais Chevalier (FRA)

+27.9/+5

7.

Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.)

+1:01.2/+5

33.

Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)

+3:08.0/+7

 

Men’s 12.5km pursuit results

1.

Johannes Thingnes Boe (NOR)

34:29.8/+3

2.

Arnd Peiffer (GER)

+15.1/+1

3.

Lukas Hofer (ITA)

+15.8/+0

18.

Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.)

+2:29.9/+2