Bailey leads US biathletes in Sweden

OSTERSUND, Sweden – Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid took the top finish for Team USA Thursday in the 20-kilometer individual World Cup race in Ostersund, Sweden.

With a time of 54:08 and two penalties, Bailey finished 3:57.9 behind France’s Martin Fourcade, who won the race with clean shooting and a time of 50:10.9. Simon Eder of Austria took second (52.17/+1), and Daniel Mesotitsch, also of Austria, was third (52:31.1/+1).

“I’m happy to get a solid race under me,” said Bailey. “I didn’t know what my ski speed would be like today compared to the other countries, so I just tried to focus on my own performance. We’ve been on snow less than half of the time that some of the other countries have, so I’m happy to be in the mix.”

Paul Smiths native Tim Burke finished 60th (57:51.5/+6) 76), Jeremy Teela (Heber City, Utah) 76th (59:04.8/+5, 83), and Leif Nordgren (Marine, Minn.) was 83rd (59:37.1/+6 .1).

The 15k women’s individual was held earlier Thursday, rescheduled after dangerous winds and winter conditions canceled the race yesterday. Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic won with a time of 47:56/+2, Anastasiya Kuzmina of Slovakia finished second (47:57.2/+2), and Marie Laurie Brunet of France was third (48:12.2/+1).

Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake had the top finish for Team USA at 50th (53:29.7/+5), Susan Dunklee of Barton, Vt. was 58th (53:59.9/+7), Hannah Dreissigacker of Morrisville, Vt. finished 80th (56:47.3/+8), and Sara Studebaker of Boise, Idaho was 83rd (57:06.9/+7).