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American Tim Burke’s comments about his 6th-place finish in the Oslo World Cup pursuit didn’t make it into our race report, but here’s what he had to say. On Friday, Burke turned 30, and he said that his best finish of the season was a good birthday present:

“Today was a great way to bring in my 30th year,” he wrote in an e-mail. “This was my first zero-penalty four-stage World Cup race, so I guess it just took me this long to figure out that avoiding the penalty loop makes racing much easier!”

Perhaps the best news is that Burke, who raced from 15th position up to 6th, didn’t think he was on top of his game yet.

“I felt pretty good on the course today but I don’t feel like I am in my best shape,” he said. “I think I am still feeling the effects of a big training week last week, but this is fine with me because my goal is to be at my best for World Championships [in March].”

Burke earned his 6th-place finish in a sprint with Evgeniy Ustygov of Russia, and he was also only a second or so behind Jakov Fak of Slovenia. But despite their tight grouping, Burke said that he’d been isolated for much of the race.

“It was pretty weird for a pursuit race because I ended up skiing by myself for most of the race,” he told FasterSkier. “When I came in for my last standing I was the only athlete on the shooting range. Going out on the last loop I knew It was going to be hard to make up many places because I really could not see anyone in front besides Ustyugov. I ended up skiing the whole loop with him until the finish. We managed to pull back a lot of time on 5th place, but I’m sure Fak was just doing enough to stay in front of us.”

Burke will compete in the mass start race on Sunday.

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