Antholz, Italy, January 23. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) finished in a season-best place 15th in today’s 10K Sprint, the final World Cup Sprint before next month’s World Championships in Pyeong Chang, Korea.
Burke, after last week’s Relay where the US team posted its best result in 20 years, commented, “I am feeing great, and have my form back now. It was a great feeling to have this kind of a performance here… We really have momentum now. As a team and individually, I really feel good and am psyched for the rest of the season.”
Today, it was obvious that Burke is getting close to his top form. After many of the top women complained yesterday that the shooting conditions were quite hard, the men had a day where conditions were perfect. Burke shot clean in prone and looked like he was well on his way to a good result from the outset. In the standing stage, he hit the first three shots, and then reset his position, before missing the final two shots.
Nevertheless, Burke was skiing fast all day, finishing with the seventh fastest overall course time and was able to overcome the two penalties in the standing stage.
He finished 15th, 59 seconds behind the yellow bib of Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway. Svendsen finished in 24:52.5, while shooting clean. Six of the top eight men shot clean, with the top four men all within 12 seconds. Bjorn Ferry of Sweden finished second, 3.6 seconds back with Tomasz Sikora of Poland, 6.7 seconds back. Both shot clean.
Besides the top four finishing so close, the next 11 including Burke were equally tight. Burke in 15th was just 29.8 seconds behind eighth place Evgeny Ustyugov of Russia. This puts Burke in an excellent position to use his ski speed in the early stages of tomorrow’s 12.5K Pursuit competition to race within sight of the leaders.
Burke’s 15th place today is a season best so far. After a slow start due to a lingering cold in December, he has been getting stronger with his solid relay leg last week and 22nd place in the Sprint competition in Oberhof, Germany two weeks ago. Last week, Burke emphasized that he expects to be in top form by the World Championships and seems to be moving in that direction.
Saturday’s Pursuit competition starts at 14:45 CET (8:45 AM EST).
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Source: US Biathlon