After another, rainy, windy, and slushy competition, Hakkinen had some regrets about his overall shooting (five penalties). “I would have had a good race if my prone shooting was better (four penalties). Standing is all that saved me. Today the prone was bad; skiing was good and so was my standing shooting. As soon as all three come together on the same day, I will have a good race! Despite this, it was fun being out there today. It was challenging, equally hard for everyone.”
“I admit that the organizers have done as good a job as possible with these conditions.” commented Head US Wax Technician Bernd Eisenbichler, “Still, some of the officials should ski 3K of the tracks, and I think they would realize the conditions are not good.” Eisenbichler’s comments came just prior to the start of today’s 12.5K Pursuit competition. All night rain and warm temperatures reduced the icy tracks to nothing more than 15-20 cm of crushed ice similar to what you would find in a snow cone on a hot summer day.
Organizers worked all night, yet the tracks were narrower and definitely in worse condition than Saturday. This prompted the frustrated and very tired Gerhard Kohler, Chief of Competition to comment, “I have been here in Oberhof since 1968, and have never seen this type of conditions here at this time of the year. We always have at least some snow!”
Hakkinen finished 3:33.8 behind winner Nicolay Kruglov of Russia, who won for the second time in 20 hours here. Kruglov had one penalty in a 36:18.2 win, pulling teammates Dmitri Iarochenko and Maxim Tchoudov to second and third place, 28.6 and 30.1 seconds back, respectively. Ironically, places one, two, and three had the same number of penalties as their place.
Tim Burke, despite nine penalties was the second US finisher, 4:26.3 back. He had four prone and five standing penalties. This was the first time Burke has missed the top 30 all season.
Jeremy Teela (Anchorage, AK) started 56th and finished 50th today, 5:20.6 back, with six penalties. ‘I knew I was in a bad starting position, so I decided just to work on some fundamentals, because a race is the best training. My skiing was strong, so that is a positive.”
Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY), like his roommate Tim Burke, had nine penalties today, with five in prone and four in standing. Bailey finished 53rd, 5:53.8 back.
The US Biathlon Team now moves 4 hours southeast to Ruhpolding, Germany for the next five days of World Cup competitions, starting Wednesday with the Women’s 4 X 6K Relay.
Live streaming video coverage of Biathlon World Cup competitions for the remainder of the season is available by clicking the Biathlon World Cup logo at the top right of the page at www.usbiathlon.org.
The United States Biathlon Association is the National Governing Body for the sport of Biathlon in the United States as recognized by the United States Olympic Committee and the International Biathlon Union. The US Biathlon Association supports the US Biathlon Team and development of the sport on all levels within the United States.
TD Banknorth is the title sponsor of the US Biathlon Team. Lapua, adidas®, the Hilton Family of Hotels and Exel Ski Poles are supporting sponsors of the US Biathlon Team.