OSTERSUND, Sweden - The U.S. biathlon team capped the opening IBU World Cup Sunday with three top-25 finishes in the men's pursuit to propel the team to a historic seventh-place IBU World Cup ranking.
Paul Smiths native Tim Burke finished ninth after starting the race in 12th position. He posted a time of 34:17.2 (0+0+2+1), which was 1:21.20 back from the winner Martin Fourcade of France who shot cleanly and clocked a 32.56.0.
"I was very happy with my performance today," Burke said. "It felt great to be back battling for a top spot in the World Cup. This was definitely the strongest world cup week of racing for the guys' team. I think this a great sign of things to come during the rest of the season."
Burke now ranks 15th in IBU overall World Cup standings.
Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid continued his strong weekend Sunday, starting in fifth position and placing 13th in the pursuit with a time of 34.46.5 (0+0+1+3). Baily now ranks seventh in overall World Cup standings.
"I felt like I executed my game plan up until the final shooting stage, " Bailey said. "When I came in, there was a little bit of wind, and my shooting position wasn't as solid as I would have liked it to be. Sometimes you get unlucky in biathlon, and for sure I wish I could have the last three shots back. But that's the nature of the sport."
"I'm happy with the way this World Cup went and looking forward to the coming races over the next two weeks," Bailey added. "I think we showed the world what we are capable of this week with three of us in the top 25 today and Tim in ninth place. We are all looking forward to next weekend in Austria."
Four-time Olympian, Jay Hakkinen of Alaska finished 24th, moving up from a start in 39th position. With a time of 35:22.0 (0+0+1+1), Hakkinen's performance secured him a rank of 25th place overall.
Bernd Eisenbichler, US Biathlon's high performance director was pleased with Team USA's performance at the World Cup opener.
"All three of the men did a great job in the first two shooting stages today," he said. "To have two guys in the top 25, and three of our men ranking seventh, 15th, and 25th is a historic achievement for US Biathlon. The women were equally impressive today as Susan had a good finish at 32nd, and Sarah did a good job shooting in tough conditions."