Bailey places 13th in pursuit world championships

Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid had the top finish for the U.S. Biathlon team Sunday, finishing 13th in the 12.5-kilometer pursuit at the world championships in Nove Mesto, Czech Republic.

Bailey shot clean and posted a time of 33:55.4, putting him 1:20.9 behind the winner, Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen. World Cup leader Martin Fourcade of France took second place while Anton Shipulin of Russia was third.

“After (Saturday’s) race, I didn’t really know what to expect,” Bailey said Sunday in a press release. “I felt good skiing yesterday and had only one penalty, but was farther back than I expected on the results. I just tried to put that race behind me and focus on quality execution in the range.

“It feels good to finally put a race together that I feel good about completely, both on the range and on the track. And, after 31 years, I can finally say that I cleaned a four-stage World Cup race.”

Tim Burke of Paul Smiths finished 32nd, posting a time of 35:33.8 with four penalties.

In the women’s pursuit race, Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake finished 51st with a time of 33:23.7 and five penalties. World Cup leader Tora Berger of Norway won the women’s race with a time of 28:48.4 and three penalties.

The results came one day after Burke took 28th place in the 10-kilometer sprint with a time of 25:01.3. Bailey finished 32nd in that race in 25:02.8, while Svendsen won in 23:25.1.

Cook had the top result for U.S. team in Saturday’s 7.5k sprint, finishishing in a tie with Victoria Padial Hernandez of Spain for 45th place in 23:05.4. Ukraine’s Olena Pidrushna won the sprint with a time of 21:01.1 and clean shooting.

Berger took second in 21:08.5 with one penalty.

“I have mixed feelings about (Saturday’s) sprint,” Cook said in a press release. “In some ways, I was really happy with how it went and in others I am disappointed. This course is tricky and I felt like I raced really smart. I was more nervous than normal before racing today, but once I started skiing, I felt really calm and relaxed.

“Prone was great and I was happy to clean. Then for standing, I felt like good things were going to happen, but they didn’t. I hit the first three shots and then accidentally pulled the trigger, distracting me for my last shot, which I also missed. So that was a bummer.”

Alpine skiing

Keene’s Tommy Biesemeyer told the Enterprise on Thursday that he gained confidence from his strong result in the super-G on Wednesday. He took 13th in the super-G in the FIS Alpine Ski World Championships in Schladming, Austria.

Biesemeyer is coming off a bad crash in late December in Italy. He had a groin injury and bruising after the fall. Despite the strong result, Biesemeyer said he didn’t ski his best and felt he left something on the hill. Still he was satisfied.

“It was a step in the right direction and that’s what it’s all about, getting better and improving after every race,” Biesemeyer said.

“Being able to come down and not ski my best and be able to (place) 13th, mentally it’s great,” he said. “That’s what it’s all about right now for skiing at a World Cup level. It’s being relaxed and comfortable, and yesterday really helped.”

Biesemeyer didn’t do as well in Monday’s super combined. He had a DNF in that race.

Teammate Andrew Weibrecht of Lake Placid had a strong showing in Saturday’s downhill race. He took 22nd to lead the Americans.

Norway’s Aksel Lund Svindal won the downhill over Italy’s Dominik Paris while France’s David Poisson won bronze.

“There was definitely more chop today,” Weibrecht said in a press release. “The snow started out pretty soft and got harder as the week went on. It was one of the rougher courses we’ve skied. Today was particularly tough because it was overcast and flat light – definitely tricky conditions and really hard to see the bumps.

“I’m really psyched with my skiing. I had a really good super-G in Kitzbuehel, I had a really good super-G at worlds and had really good training runs. It just hasn’t quite come together in the races but 95 percent of the time I’ve been fast the last couple weeks. It’s one of those sports where you have to be fast and have a little bit of luck in the right conditions.”