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US biathlon relay takes ninth

December 13, 2011
By the Enterprise staff ( , Adirondack Daily Enterprise

Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid and Tim Burke of Paul Smiths were part of the Team USA biathlon relay team that raced to a ninth-place finish Sunday in the IBU World Cup event in Hochfilzen, Austria.

Bailey and Burke teamed up with Jay Hakkinen of Alaska and Leif Nordgren of Minnesota to cross the finish line with a time of 1:17:22.8 (0+1, 1+9). The winning team from Norway completed the course in 1:14:52.9 (0+1 1+6).

Russia won silver with a time of 1:15:06.8 (0+3 0+2), and France took bronze with a time of 1:15:23.9 (0+3 0+3).

Article Photos

Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid makes his way through the IBU World Cup course in Hochfilzen, Austria on Sunday during the biathlon relay event. Team USA finished ninth.
(Photo — US Biathlon/NordicFocus)

"Finishing up in ninth in Hochfilzen was a solid result, and our eighth place in the Nations Cup is also good for us," said U.S. Biathlon head coach Per Nilsson. "Overall we're happy with today's ninth-place result, but we are eager for more."

"Today was a step in the right direction and there's more to come for sure. The skiing was impressive and it's a solid result where we are right now," said U.S. Biathlon High Performance Director Bernd Eisenbichler. "The technicians did a super job on the skis today as well."

"Lowell Bailey once again showed his world-class skiing by skiing the first two laps of his leg in the top three despite starting in the second row, and posted the fastest ski time in his leg," said U.S. Biathlon CEO Max Cobb. "I know the team is frustrated that they needed so many extra rounds to clean their targets but they will be working on that in preparation for the mixed relay next Sunday in which two women and two men will compete together."

On Saturday, Bailey led his U.S. teammates with a 17th-place finish in the 12.5-kilometer pursuit. Bailey was fourth approaching the final shooting stage, but two misses in standing dropped him back. He crossed the finish line in 34:06.4 (0+0+0+2), which was 57.4 seconds behind the winner, Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway.

"So close. That about sums it up," Bailey said after race. "Today I felt good about how the race went for the first four loops. I felt comfortable on the course and was able to ski a little better technically than yesterday, and with clean shooting I managed to get in a good position by the last standing. Unfortunately I just missed a couple in the last stage.

"Biathlon is like that. A couple of bullets can be the difference between a potential podium or 17th. But that's also why I love this sport. It's never a sure thing and anything can happen."

Bailey now ranks seventh overall in IBU World Cup standings.

Hakkinen posted a 36:37.7 (0+0+3+1) to finish 45th, while Burke finished 47th with a time of 36:50.5 (0+2+1+3).



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