American Quartet 16th in Women's World Cup Relay

By Bill Kellick | Jan. 19, 2019, 1:57 p.m. (ET)


Clare Egan (r) tags off to Susan Dunklee for the second leg of the women's relay on Saturday (photo by NordicFocus)

RUHPOLDING, Germany (Jan. 19, 2019) – The U.S. foursome of Clare Egan (Cape Elizabeth, Maine), Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vt.), Joanne Reid (Palo Alto, Calif.) and Deedra Irwin (Pulaski, Wis.) placed 16th in Saturday's 4x6-kilometer women's relay at the BMW IBU World Cup in Ruhpolding. With two penalties and 12 spare rounds, the team finished 4 minutes and 6 seconds off the pace.

Egan turned in the fastest ski time among the 22 teams on the first leg. Aided by a clean prone round, she was among the lead group that included Italy's Dorothea Wierer.

"Our ski service team gave us excellent skis today and I'm in great shape, so drafting the leaders was easy," said Egan. "I know that on any given day I can bee one of the fastest skiers, so I was confident about competing on course today."

Despite losing a pole after getting it stepped on in a tight corner, Egan maintained her position among the leaders.

"I think it was a Norwegian athlete and then, coincidentally, the Norwegian coach offered me a pole," she said. "That's biathlon...sometimes there are equipment issues but every team helps when they can. It didn't impact my race since I was able to stay relaxed and quickly get a new one."

More trouble arose, however, in the standing stage. Entering the range in third place, Egan used all three spares and needed two penalty loops before exiting the range, knocking the team far down in the standings.

"The relay presents a unique challenge to me because I put so much pressure on myself to do well for my team," Egan stated. "That kind of pressure can be motivating for skiing, but the only way to be successful in shooting is to let go of the outcome completely and focus exclusively on the execution. It's a lot easier said than done. I'm doing everything I can to build good habits in training so I can be better focused in the races, but today I lost focus."

With the team in 19th place at the first exchange, Dunklee brought them all the way back to 12th on the second leg with the fourth-fastest course time and four spare rounds on the range. Reid and Irwin combined to use just five spare rounds to bring the team home in 16th position. Irwin finished with a clean round in standing.

"Everyone on our team competed well today," added Egan. "Joanne had a great race overall. Susan moved up seven places. Deedra, in only her second World Cup race, chased down a pack of teams on her first loop and also cleaned standing."

The French team of Julia Simon, Anais Bescond, Justine Braisaz and Anais Chevalier won the women's relay with just four spare rounds in 1:09:27.7. Norway finished second with seven spares, 11.5 seconds back. Germany was third with nine spares, 23.4 seconds behind France.

The attention now shifts to Sunday's mass start races on the final day of the BMW IBU World Cup in Ruhpolding, with three Americans qualifying for the 30-person fields. Sean Doherty (Center Conway, N.H.) will compete in the men's 15km mass start at 6:15 a.m. ET, while Egan and Dunklee will race in the women's 12.5km competition at 8:40 a.m. ET.

"Today was the hardest race of the season so far for me emotionally," said Egan. "But I have a big race tomorrow and less than 24 hours to reset. I've done it before and I'll do it again now. I'm really looking forward to a fresh start."

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 4x6km relay results

1.

France (Simon, Bescond, Braisaz, Chevalier)

1:09:27.7/0+4

2.

Norway (Solemdal, Tandrevold, Eckhoff, Roeiseland)

+11.5/0+7

3.

Germany (Hinz, Dahlmeier, Preuss, Herrmann)

+23.4/0+9

16.

USA (Egan, Dunklee, Reid, Irwin)

+4:06.0/2+12