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Burke Crashes Again; Recovers to Finish 23rd in Mass Start

Biathlon

Tue, Jan  16, 2007 - By US Biathlon Team

Ruhpolding, Germany, January 14. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) suffered another time and energy consuming crash in the first 2.5K of the 15K Mass Start competition today, but regained his composure to finish 23rd, 3:00.1 behind Ole Einar Bjorndalen of Norway.

Burke, looking like Rocky Balboa at the finish, with several small scratches from yesterday’s collision near the finish, was frustrated as he spoke about his first Mass Start competition. “I had a good start, in the middle of the pack, skiing comfortably. Under the bridge near the ski jump, Vincent DeFrasne (of France) cut right in front of me and took me out at the knees. I went flying across the tracks, with my pole going the opposite way. As I got up, someone else slammed me into the ground again and I lost a magazine. By the time I made it to the shooting range, I was in last place. The chief of competition gave me a new magazine there.”

Tim burke

In that first prone stage, Burke missed two shots low and to the right. “All of Tim’s shots were low, which is unusual,” commented Coach Per Nilsson. Burke came to the second prone stage in 29th position. This time, he had five good shots, but another miss in the same spot.

“After the crash, I definitely changed my tactics,” Burke added, “I was not going to follow anyone after that. I led every group during the second half of the race.”

Burke’s aggressiveness paid off, as he moved up steadily during the two standing stages. He came to the first standing stage in 26th, had only one penalty, and moved up to 24th over the next 3.3K. A clean final stage would put him within striking distance of 20th place. He shot fast in the final stage, yet missed another shot, giving him five penalties total. Still, he was able to pick up another spot to finish 23rd, a stellar effort considering the nearly catastrophic beginning.

“I felt good today, so I am pretty disappointed with the early part of the race. I expected a better place. Still, I got eight World Cup Points, so it was worth it,” Burke stated as he left the stadium.

Tim burke

Unaware of Burke’s mishaps, other than a dropped magazine, Nilsson commented about his performance, “Tim did a good job today. Of course, he can shoot much better. Still, he is competing with the top 30 guys in the world here and fought hard all of the way to the finish.”

Bjorndalen, shooting clean, claimed his 71st World Cup victory today with another stellar performance. He played with the other competitors until after the first standing stage, when he started to put more distance on them, eventually winning by 47.7seconds over Norwegian teammate, Emile Hegle Svendsen. Svendsen, with one penalty topped Austrian Christoph Sumann by 2.2 seconds. Sumann tried to stay with Bjorndalen over the first three loops, but fell back when the Norwegian turned on the afterburners, leaving Sumann struggling to hold on to third at the finish.

In Europa Cup action today in Cesana San Sicario, Italy, Russell Currier (Stockholm, ME) was the third US Junior National Team Athlete on the podium in three days with a personal best third place in the Junior Men’s 10K Sprint. He follows Wynn Roberts (Brainerd, MN), fifth in the Junior 15K Individual and Brynden Manbeck (Grand Rapids, MN) fifth in the Junior Women’s 12.5K Individual. Currier, with three penalties, continued to burn up the slushy tracks, finishing 28.6 seconds behind Claudio Mussner of Italy. Roberts finished 14th with four penalties, 2:21.5 back, after losing the butt plate on his rifle before the prone stage. He eventually fixed it, but lost time and concentration in the process. Brian Olsen (Heber City, UT) was 48th in the Senior men’s 10K Sprint, with two penalties, 2:21.1 back of Germany’s Jorn Wollschlager. Kevin Patzoldt (Grand Rapids, MN) followed in 73rd place, with three penalties, 4:48.4 back. European Cup Results from IBU

Burke and his World Cup teammates now travel to Bled, Slovenia for the next World Cup, which starts Wednesday on the Pokljuka plateau, 25 kilometers up in the mountains from the lakeside resort town. The Europa Cup team remains in Italy, with next weekend’s competitions in Forni Avoltri in the northern Italian Dolomites.

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.

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