Tim Burke took another step toward the top of the World Cup biathlon ranks Thursday after placing fourth in the 10-kilometer sprint race in Pokljuka, Slovenia.
Burke, a native of Paul Smiths, had perfect shooting and recorded a time of 24 minutes, 56.9 seconds. He finished just behind bronze medalist Martin Fourcade of France, who crossed the line in 24:47.8.
Jakov Fak of Slovenia won the event in front of his hometown crowd with a time of 24:41.7. Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway was second in 24:42.5.
With clean shooting in Thursday’s 10-kilometer World Cup sprint, Paul Smiths native Tim Burke raced to a fourth-place finish in Pokljuka, Slovenia.
(Photo — US Biathlon/Nordic Focus)
"I am really happy with today's result," Burke said. "Of course it would have been nice to find a few more seconds to get onto the podium, but I really did everything I could out there today so I am very happy with that.
"I felt very solid on the shooting range today. I was able to execute the techniques that I have been working on in practice. I am still missing my top gear on the skis, but hopefully that will show up at World Championships in February."
Burke placed 22nd in last week's sprint event in Austria and finished 23rd in the pursuit. He is currently ranked 13th in the overall World Cup standings.
"Now I am looking forward to Saturday's pursuit," Burke said. "I will be starting only 15 seconds behind first place so everything is still possible."
Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid took 36th in Thursday's sprint race. Skiing with a broken toe, Bailey posted a time of 26:20.3, with two penalties at the standing range.
"The toe wasn't too difficult to deal with," Bailey said. "I've had a lot of help over the last three days from our support staff. I wish I could have hit at least one more in standing, but given the circumstances, I'm lucky that I was even able to race so I will take a few World Cup points on the day and start getting ready for the pursuit."
Russell Currier of Maine placed 89th (28:12.7) and Jay Hakkinen of Alaska finished 92nd (28:24.6) to round out the American squad.
"It was really a super performance from Tim," said US Biathlon High Performance Director Bernd Eisenbichler. "Given the circumstances it was not easy shooting, but Tim cleaned the stages, showing the work he has put in has paid off. It was a very, very strong and complex biathlon performance. Fourth place is just super and exactly what we needed now for getting a push for the whole team."
World Cup racing continues Friday in Pokljuka with the women's 7.5k sprint. Burke and Bailey are expected to race in Saturday 12.5k pursuit.