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Burke: 6th Place Was a Good 30th Birthday Present

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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Green on Career-Best 9th in Oslo

Brendan Green (CAN) posted a career-best result in Thursday’s 10km sprint, shooting clean and skiing to ninth place. “I’m pumped to finally place in the top-10,” Green wrote to FasterSkier in an email. “This result is an important milestone for me, and I’m hoping I can have more like it in the near future.” Green points out that he had achieved his previous best of 14th on three different occasions, a fact that “was starting to get a little frustrating.” He described making it into the top-10 as “a sweet feeling,” but says that he knows he can do better still. “There’s still lots of work to be done and I know I have the potential to improve upon this result when things really come together, but for now I’m definitely happy with it,” Green said. He has not been able to point to anything specific as the root of…

Garanichev, Neuner Pick Up World Cup Wins, Banner day for North America

Evgeniy Garanichev (RUS) won the first World Cup race of his career, besting German Arnd Peiffer by a mere .7 second in the men’s 10km sprint in Oslo, Norway. Emil Hegle Svendsen (NOR) overcame two misses to take third, 11.8 seconds down. Both Garanichev and Peiffer shot clean. In the women’s 7.5km event, Magdalena Neuner (GER) won her sixth race of the season over Darya Domracheva (BLR). Neuner shot clean and posted the fastest ski time of the day, allowing her to cruise to a 38 second victory. Tora Berger (NOR) was third another 10 seconds back. Domracheva and Berger has one penalty apiece. The UNited States and Canada posted strong results in both races, in what may be one of the best all-around days for NOrth AMerican biathlon. In the women’s race, Megan Imrie (CAN) led the way in 17th, shooting clean while Sara Studebaker paced the US squad…

Smith 15th in U26 Junior Individual; Norway’s Weather Wusses?

Welcome to the new biathlon blog! -Wednesday was the last day of individual racing at the Under-26 Open European Championships in Osrblie, Slovakia, and featured individual-format competitions for juniors. The lone North American competitor was 19-year-old U.S. biathlete Casey Smith, who placed 15th in the junior men’s 15 k race. Smith missed just two shots over the course of four stages, and correspondingly received two minutes of penalty time. He had the 22nd-fastest ski time of the day and finished just over four minutes behind the winner, Alexander Loginov of Russia. Johannes Bø, younger brother to Norwegian superstar Tarjei Bø, was second, six seconds behind Loginov, who picked up his second victory in the series (results here). -In the junior women’s 12.5 k individual, Marion Roenning Huber of Norway collected her first international win when she finished 1:23 ahead of Russia’s Olga Galich. Women’s results here. -The U26 Championships were…