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Johnson and Burke Finish Strong at IBU World Cup Sprint

Biathlon World Cup: Antholz

Sun, Jan  24, 2010 - By Linda Jager

ANTHOLZ, Italy - With the men’s and women’s Sprint events completed at the Antholz World Cup, competition has concluded for all but one member of the U.S. biathlon team. Finishing in the top 60, Haley Johnson (Lake Placid, NY) and Tim Burke (Paul Smiths, NY) are the only U.S. athletes who qualified for Sunday's Pursuit competition. Johnson will race in tomorrow's event, while Burke will begin the final phase of his pre-Olympic training.

For the coaches, the team's results are nothing to worry about after three hard racing weeks. "With the Olympic trials at the beginning of January, and the hard weeks since then, the team definitively needs some rest. The competition here in Antholz was important for additional race experience and training so we did not expect them to finish on top spots", said Bernd Eisenbichler, U.S. Biathlon’s high performance director.

Johnson finished Friday’s 7.5km Sprint ranking 59th, with three missed shots, qualifying for tomorrow's Pursuit. Magdalena Neuner (GER) won the event with a finish time of 20:19.7 "It really felt more like training so I am okay with the result,” said Johnson. “ I definitely have to work on my shooting confidence a bit more before Vancouver, but for the skiing I am sure it will come after some rest!"

While they did not finish within the Top 60, Johnson's teammates are confident to post strong results in Vancouver. Right now the most important thing for Lanny Barnes (Durango, CO), Laura Spector (Lenox, MA), and Sara Studebaker (Boise, ID), is to go home and get some much needed recovery time after three consecutive weeks of racing. "I've been in Europe since October so I really need to get some recovery back home, both mentally and physically,” said Barnes.

With the fourth best course time and three missed shots at the shooting range, Burke finished in 21st place in the men's 10km Sprint with a time of 25:30.4. "To make those three mistakes in standing should not have happened but that's biathlon," said Burke. "I agree with the others, we all need to get some rest. Both the mind and body are quite tired after all those racing weeks."

Burke finished 1:03.0 back from today’s winner Arnd Peiffer (GER) who secured his second career World Cup victory with a time of 24:27.4. Following today's race, Burke remains third in overall World Cup standings, 19 points behind leader Evgeny Ustyugov (RUS).

U.S. Biathlon Team World Cup Results from Antholz, Italy

Men's 10km Sprint (1/23/10)

21	BURKE Tim       0+3	  25:30.4	+1:03.0
68	BAILEY Lowell   2+0	  26:51.8	+2:24.4
81	HAKKINEN Jay    3+1	  27:13.5	+2:46.1
93	ROBERTS Wynn    3+3	  28:19.4	+3:52.0
96	HALL Zach       2+2	  28:38.2	+4:10.8
				
Women's 7km Sprint (1/22/10)
59	JOHNSON Haley   1+2	  23:17.5	+2:57.8
62	STUDEBAKER Sara 1+2	  23:25.3	+3:05.6
76	BARNES Lanny    1+1	  24:17.5	+3:57.8
85	SPECTOR Laura   3+1	  24:55.6	+4:35.9

Watch tomorrow's final day of World Cup competition from Antholz live online at http://tiny.cc/u96nv. The women's Pursuit begins at 6:50am (EST) followed by the men's Pursuit at 9:15am (EST). Please visit http://tinyurl.com/ybwmpud for a complete list of competition results.