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Burke and Bailey 32nd and 35th in World Cup Final Pursuit

Tue, Mar  20, 2007 - By US Biathlon Team

Khanty Mansiysk, Russia, March 17. Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) finished 32nd today missing another top 30 finish by a mere two seconds, while his training partner, Lowell Bailey (Lake Placid, NY) followed in 35th place, 20.8 seconds later.

Both Burke and Bailey started today’s World Cup Final Pursuit competition with the goal of a top 30 finish and World Cup points. For Burke, a few more points would have been icing on the cake, in a season where he has amassed 253 points to date. For Bailey, it would have been the fitting finish to his late season surge. In the end, Burke was 2 seconds shy of the mark while Bailey was 22.8 short. Burke finished 2:06.8 behind Russian Maxim Tchoudov, while Bailey was 2:27.6 back. Tchoudov had two penalties, as well as the second and third place finishers, Bjorn Ferry of Sweden and Stian Eckhoff of Norway. Tchoudov won in a sprint to the finish with Ferry, who conceded to the local favorite just meters before the finish line. Ferry was six-tenths of a second back while Eckhoff was 2.1 seconds back.

Today, Bailey who has shot well in all of the final six competitions in March, started strong again with two clean prone stages, pushing him up to 28th place. Burke missed three in the same two stages, dropping him top 42nd position. Bailey missed two shots in the first standing stage, while Burke cleaned. For the next 2.5K, they were virtually side-by-side. In the final standing stage, they both missed one shot and left the penalty loop, 2 seconds apart, but both in contention for a top 30 finish. Burke gained time, but no places, while Bailey slowed down but lost no places.

At the finish, Burke, said with disappointment, “I did not feel very good skiing today. It was a big effort out there. I just could not go.” Bailey added, “The conditions were not too good (light snow and temperatures near freezing). I felt good for the first three loops. After missing those two standing shots, I just lost it. I wanted to get some points today. Still, my shooting has been very good recently and my results have been better than most of the season. I think the competition is much tougher at this time of the year. In light of that, the last few weeks have been good for me.”

Jay Hakkinen (Kasilof, AK) finished 57th, with six penalties, 5:41.8 back.

The World Cup Final Mass Start tomorrow is the final competition of the season. Tim Burke is the sole US entrant and will have bib number 21 in the 30-man field.

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