FIS Biathlon World Cup 2016/17 Wrap

Ca­reer-best Top Per­for­mances from U.S.A.'S Bai­ley and Dun­klee

SkiTrax - - International Comp - by Noah Brautigam

The U.S.A.'S Low­ell Bai­ley and Su­san Dun­klee raced into the his­tory books with Bai­ley plac­ing a best-ever eighth over­all in the fi­nal men's and Dun­klee fin­ish­ing 10th over­all in the fi­nal women's IBU World Cup sea­son rank­ings. Both de­liv­ered per­sonal- and team-best re­sults along the way. Here's a look at the high­lights of the 2016/17 sea­son.

Dec. 7-11, 2016 – Pokljuka, Slove­nia

Be­gin­ning in De­cem­ber at Round Two in Pokljuka, Slove­nia, Dun­klee of Crafts­bury, Vt. matched her best-ever per­for­mance in a World Cup Pur­suit race, land­ing a fifth-place fin­ish in the women's 10km event. She had started in 11th, got off to a blaz­ing start by clock­ing the fastest open­ing loop in the 57-woman field and calmly knocked down her first 15 tar­gets. A miss in the fi­nal stand­ing ses­sion dropped her to sev­enth, but she dug deep and ral­lied to fin­ish fifth at 24.1 sec­onds be­hind win­ner Laura Dahlmeier (GER), who re­bounded af­ter los­ing the lead fol­low­ing two penal­ties in her sec­ond prone, clos­ing a 37-sec­ond gap to claim her sec­ond con­sec­u­tive win. Fin­land's Kaisa Makarainen also had two penal­ties to fin­ish in sec­ond, 16.8 sec­onds back. Czech Repub­lic's Eva Puskar­cikova hit the podium for the first time in her ca­reer, fin­ish­ing in third, 18.7 sec­onds back with one penalty.

Dec. 13-18, 2016 – Nove Mesto, Czech Repub­lic

At Round Three in Nove Mesto, Czech Repub­lic, a crowd es­ti­mated at 30,000 saw Dun­klee land on the podium with clean shoot­ing and fast ski­ing to claim bronze in the women's 7.5km sprint at 5.1 sec­onds be­hind Rus­sia's Ta­tiana Aki­mova, who earned her first-ever World Cup vic­tory with clean shoot­ing

March 1-5, 2017 – Pyeongchang, South Korea

Fol­low­ing a brief hia­tus af­ter the Biathlon Worlds where she won his­toric sil­ver, Dun­klee didn't miss a step, shoot­ing nine out of 10 and fin­ish­ing a stel­lar fifth in the women's 7.5km sprint com­pe­ti­tion at the IBU World Cup in Pyeongchang, South Korea. Ger­many's Dahlmeier won the race in a time of 20:43.7, 8.4 sec­onds ahead of Nor­we­gian Tiril Eck­hoff. Che­va­lier fin­ished third, 41.6 sec­onds back. All three podium fin­ish­ers shot clean.

At the same event in the men's 10km sprint, Bai­ley from Lake Placid, N.Y. con­tin­ued his win­ning ways fol­low­ing his gold at the Biathlon Worlds by scor­ing the sil­ver medal. Bai­ley shot clean to fin­ish be­hind Aus­tria's Ju­lian Eber­hard and ahead of France's Martin Four­cade. He missed only one shot in the last five of his races, all top-six per­for­mances.

Bai­ley then came into the men's 12.5km Pur­suit to break his streak with two misses – one in the first prone stage and an­other in the first shoot­ing stage. De­spite those misses, he held onto ninth po­si­tion, 1:20.6 be­hind win­ner Four­cade of France, who, match­ing Ole Ei­nar Bjorn­dalen's 2005 sin­gle-sea­son as well. Anais Che­va­lier of France also shot clean for a per­sonal-best sec­ond place.

“Nove Mesto is one of my favourite places to race,” said Dun­klee. “The sta­dium crowd roars like thun­der and ev­ery me­tre of the course is packed with spec­ta­tors.”

Dun­klee con­tin­ued her world-class per­for­mances the next day with a per­sonal-best fourth in the women's Pur­suit de­spite two penal­ties. Che­va­lier took the win with one missed tar­get for her first-ever World Cup vic­tory.

Canada's Ju­lia Ran­som matched a ca­reer-best World Cup Pur­suit re­sult in 19th. The 23-year-old from Kelowna, B.C. shot clean un­til her fourth and fi­nal stop on the range, where she missed one tar­get.

win record, gave a nod to the leg­endary Bjorn­dalen: “I am part of this gen­er­a­tion who grew up watch­ing Bjorn­dalen on tele­vi­sion . . . I want to thank him for be­ing as in­spir­ing as he was as I was grow­ing up.”

March 9-13, 2017 – Kon­ti­o­lahti, Fin­land

In Kon­ti­o­lahti, Fin­land, Dun­klee and Bai­ley paired up to de­liver a stel­lar sil­ver in the Sin­gle Mixed re­lay at the BMW IBU World Cup #8. Us­ing five spares, they com­bined forces to win the U.S.A.'S first team medal in 23 years.

Dun­klee re­cov­ered from a fall on a down­hill sec­tion and Bai­ley out-sprinted two other teams to se­cure the podium for the Amer­i­can duo. It was the first Sin­gle Mixed re­lay com­pe­ti­tion for both Dun­klee and Bai­ley and the first team medal for the U.S. since a sil­ver medal in the women's re­lay at the 1994 World Cup in Can­more, Alta.

Fol­low­ing a su­perb sea­son, the U.S.A.'S Dun­klee fin­ished a ca­reer-best 10th over­all as the IBU World Cup wrapped up at the Hol­menkollen in Oslo, Nor­way. Af­ter 26 events, Ger­many's Dahlmeier took the over­all World Cup ti­tle, also claim­ing the Pur­suit ti­tle. The Czech Repub­lic's Gabriela Koukalova was sec­ond over­all, also tak­ing home the sprint and mass-start globes. Makarainen rounded out the over­all World Cup fi­nal podium. Rosanna Craw­ford was the top Cana­dian in 50th.

Bai­ley fin­ished a sto­ry­book his­toric sea­son with a ca­reer-best eighth over­all in the men's World Cup over­all rank­ings. Four­cade took the men's ti­tle yet again for his sixth se­ries vic­tory. The French­man also won the over­all ti­tles in the men's mass start, sprint and Pur­suit rank­ings. Rus­sian An­ton Ship­ulin fin­ished sec­ond to Four­cade in the over­all, also fin­ish­ing sec­ond over­all in the Pur­suit and third over­all in the mass start. Jo­hannes Thingnes Boe of Nor­way rounded out the World Cup over­all in third. Scott Gow was the top Cana­dian male in 50th.

(above) Amer­i­cans Low­ell Bai­ley (l) in eighth and team­mate Su­san Dun­klee in 10th took home bestever over­all fi­nal rank­ings in the IBU World Cup se­ries.

(left) Martin Four­cade (FRA) won the men's over­all ti­tle for his sixth con­sec­u­tive se­ries vic­tory.

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