Egan records career-best finish

KONTIOLAHTI, Finland — With just one penalty on the shooting range, Clare Egan raced to a career-best 13th place in Friday’s 7.5-kilometer women’s sprint at the BMW IBU World Cup 7 in Kontiolahti, Finland. Egan’s time of 21 minutes, 43.7 seconds was 46.9 seconds back of the winning time put up by Darya Domracheva of Belarus.

“I was extra motivated to take advantage of these last few weeks of racing because I’ve had a mediocre season,” said Egan, of Cape Elizabeth, Maine. “And I felt confident after capping off the (Olympic) Games with a season-best performance with perfect shooting in the women’s relay. Rest, motivation and confidence, plus best-in-the-world skis, is a good recipe for success.”

Egan’s previous best finish at an IBU World Cup race was 16th in the sprint in December 2015 in Ostersund, Sweden. Friday’s performance also qualifies Egan for the 30-woman mass start race on Sunday.

“It’s been a long time since I had a personal best result,” Egan added. “It’s a bit of a surprise to do it even with one miss, but I had a personal best ski rank today and that’s biathlon. It always feels good to have a personal best.”

Egan started between two of the top five athletes in the World Cup rankings…Domracheva and Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier…a situation that could be a blessing or a curse.

“When I saw the start list yesterday I have to admit I was a little intimidated,” Egan said. “But when I could see Darya for most of the first loop I knew I was having a good start. I didn’t see her again after the prone shooting but I benefited from skiing around (Canadian) Emma Lunder and of course I did everything I could to hold off Laura on the last loop. I’m really proud that I made it to the line just a few seconds ahead.”

Domracheva missed only one shot, her final standing shot, to win the women’s sprint in 20:56.8. Franziska Hildebrand of Germany finished second, shooting clean, a mere .5 seconds back. Third place went to Italy’s Lisa Vittozzi, with one penalty, 5.5 seconds back.

Other U.S. finishers were Susan Dunklee (Barton, Vermont) in 36th, Emily Dreissigacker (Morrisville, Vermont) in 62nd, and Joanne Reid (Palo Alto, California) in 74th.

Relays take center stage today in Kontiolahti. The single mixed relay begins at 7:40 a.m. EST, followed by the mixed relay at 10:45 a.m.

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