POKLJUKA, Slovenia - Tim Burke of Paul Smiths returned to the World Cup biathlon podium Sunday after finishing third in the 15-kilometer mass start.
Burke now ranks sixth in the overall World Cup standings.
It marks the fourth time in his biathlon career that Burke has reached the podium, and the first since his breakout season in the winter of 2009-10. Burke's performance Sunday capped off an impressive week in which he placed fourth in the 10k sprint on Thursday and seventh in the Saturday's 12.5k pursuit.
Tim Burke of Paul Smiths, right, stands on the podium Sunday after taking third in the 15-kilometer mass start in Pokljuka, Slovenia. Jacov Fak of Slovenia, left, placed second, and Andreas Birnbacher of Germany was first.
(Photo — U.S. Biathlon, NordicFocus)
"I'm very happy with the race; it felt so good to finally put everything together on the same day with a really strong day on the skis and also good shooting in some foggy conditions," Burke said. "The team also did an incredible job of getting me on some really fast skis in some tricky wet conditions. I'm super-happy to be back on the podium. It's been two years, and a lot of hard work has gone into this from everyone, and it's a great way to head into the Christmas break."
Burke finished with a time of 36 minutes, 2 seconds with just two penalties. Andreas Birnbacher of Germany won the event with clean shooting and a time of 35:39.4, followed by Jacov Fak of Slovenia in 35:57.1 and two penalties.
The World Cup tour resumes Jan. 3-6 in Oberhof, Germany.
"I'm already looking forward to coming back and racing in Oberhof," Burke said. "Today definitely went a long way in helping with my confidence, knowing that I can be back up there with the best again. It should bode well for the rest of the season, I hope."
"It was a super job of everybody today," said US Biathlon head coach Per Nilsson. "Tim did a super job on the range and the course. For the last loop he was in third place and moved up to Jacov Fak, one of the strongest skiers this trimester. Just five seconds behind Tim were Emil Hegle Svendsen and World Cup leader Martin Fourcade, so I don't think Tim was certain he was going to make the podium until he crossed the finish line."
Lowell Bailey of Lake Placid did not compete in the mass start after finishing 28th in Saturday's pursuit. He is 30th in the overall World Cup standings.
Cook tops American women
Annelies Cook of Saranac Lake was the top American woman in Saturday's 10k pursuit, finishing 33rd with three penalties and a time of 35:55.
Miriam Gossner of Germany won the event in 31:47.8, followed by Gabriela Soukalova (31:48.5) and Marie Dorin Habert of France (32:14.3).
Other U.S. team members in the race were Sara Studebaker of Idaho, who finished 35th in 36:03 and Susan Dunklee of Vermont, who finished 38th in 36:11.