Trondheim, Norway, March 19. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) finished ninth in today’s 10K Sprint at the inaugural Biathlon World Cup here, while Teammate Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) finished 20th.
The 9th place, with one penalty was Burke’s best result of the season, topping his 11th place in the same competition at the Biathlon World Championships last month. With Bailey shooting clean today, The duo also recorded the best two US results in the same competition this season. Burke finished 57.5 seconds behind Michael Greis of Germany, who won in 26:11.3. Bailey was 1:17.6 back.
At the finish line, Bailey commented, “I just relaxed out there today and it happened.”
Regarding Burke’s season best, US Coach Per Nilsson commented after Burke cleaned the standing stage, despite two split bullets, “it is about time we got a break. The targets went down with splits today. That is just enough luck for Tim to make a great race for him.”
Burke had only one penalty today in the prone stage and negated most of its value with fast skiing. “The tracks were really slow and deep today. I like this kind of conditions and it did not affect me very much. I think part of my success was that as me and the others on the US Team dealt with the jet lag from the Vancouver to Trondheim trip better than some other teams did. I felt great.”
It was obvious that Burke had fast skis, as he several times almost ran over Klemen Bauer of Slovenia as they approached the shooting range prior to the prone stage. In the second loop, Burke skied 10 meters behind the eventual race winner, Greis. “It helped me a lot skiing just behind him. I could not catch him, but was not losing any ground, so I knew I was doing okay.”
Yesterday, Burke commented that he had been in this same position late in the season before, skiing well, but not shooting good enough for a good result and always came out of it. “In fact, last year, I was not racing as well as I am now and had a great finish to the season.” In the Sprint today, Burke again seemed to turn a corner with his ninth place. “Everything went very well today, both skiing and shooting. I just hope to continue this over the weekend (Pursuit and possibly Mass Start competitions).” he said.
Bailey, in 20th place attributed his success to “following the plan. I planned to go out slowly on the first loop and gradually pick it up. It worked perfectly. The conditions were not great since I was such a late starter (94), but in the end it worked out.”
Both Burke and Bailey will be in Saturday’s 12.5K Pursuit competition, as will be Jeremy Teela (Anchorage, AK) who finished 56th, with three penalties, 2:37.4 back. Burke currently sits in 30th position in the Overall World Cup standings. The top 30 will start in Sunday’s 15K Mass Start competition, so scoring a few more World Cup points in the Pursuit, will ensure Burke a spot in the Mass Start Field.
Watch live results and streaming video of all World Cup competitions at www.biathlonworld.com.
The US Biathlon website has an RSS feed, available by clicking the RSS logo at www.usbiathlon.org to get the address and all of the latest biathlon news.
Source: US Biathlon