With the two sprint competitions in Antholz, Italy coming to an end, ended for the bigger part of the US team. Only Haley Johnson and Tim Burke managed to qualify for tomorrow’s pursuit competition. For the coaches this kind of a result is nothing to worry about after three hard weeks of racing .
“With the Olympic trials at the beginning of January and the hard weeks since then, the team definitively needs some rest. Those days here in Antholz were important for some more race experience and training so we did not expect them to finish on top spots,” High Performance Director Bernd Eisenbichler explains.
Johnson finished 59th with three misses, qualifying for the pursuit on Sunday.
“It really felt more like training so I am okay with the result. I definitively have to work on my shooting confidence a bit more before Vancouver but for the skiing I am sure it will come after some rest!”
The others did not manage to finish within the Top 60 but they all were confident as the Olympics approach. Right now the most important thing for Sara Studebaker, Lanny Barnes and Laura Spector is to go home and get some much needed recovery time after three weeks of racing.
Barnes especially is looking forward to go home: “I’ve been in Europe since October so I really need to get some recovery back home both mentally and physically!”
In the men’s race the athletes experienced just the same. With the fourth best course time Tim Burke took 21st rank despite his three misses on the shooting range.
“To make those three mistakes in standing should not have happened but that’s biathlon. So I can just agree with the others: We all need to get some rest. Both the mind and body are quite tired after all those racing weeks.”
With the big stars like Norwegians Bjoerndalen or Svendsen skipping the World Cup, German athlete Arnd Peiffer took the victory today in Antholz.
Magdalena Neuner from Germany won her second consecutive race, taking the top spot in the women’s race.