March 05, 2017 (PyeongChang, Korea) – Team Canada claimed 7th and the USA was 10th in the men’s 4×7.5 kilometre relay at IBU World Cup in PyeongChang on Sunday. France took the win with a time of 1:12:09.5 using 10 spares followed by Austria in second at 33.8 seconds back with nine spares, while Norway took the bronze medal with one penalty and eight spare rounds at 45.4 seconds behind France.
The Canadian men’s team used 9 spares and included Christian and Scott Gow as they welcomed fellow Calgarian Nathan Smith, back into the fold for his first race in nearly fourth months as he’s been battling sickness, along with Brendan Green.
The American quartet of Lowell Bailey, Leif Nordgren, Paul Schommer and Sean Doherty also needed nine spares on their way to 10th.
“I am happy with my race today. It was a tough first leg, but I feel like I held my own and I am happy with the result,” said Christian Gow, who handed off to his older brother in ninth place. “I think all of us are happy to break into the top-eight today. It is our best relay placing of the season so it is nice to end on a high note.”
“Today was much trickier on the range, with gusting winds that changed direction frequently,” Bailey said. “(Maxim) Tsvetkov and (Lucas) Hofer set a brutal pace on the first lap, so I just tried to hang in the draft and bide my time until prone. Fortunately, I was able to clean quickly and get out in the lead group. From there, the pace was more manageable, which meant the pack grew so that we were back to 10 or 15 guys at the front for the standing shoot. There was a bit of wind and I just tried to take quality shots. I think a lot of guys struggled in the gusts and I was able to get out in front because of that. (Vetle Sjastad) Christiansen (NOR) gapped me on the back flat, and I started to come back to him on the hill section, but couldn’t quite bridge the gap by the tag.”
Schommer, skiing in his first career World Cup relay, needed three extra rounds in both prone and standing, and made the final exchange with Doherty for the anchor leg in 13th place.
Doherty brought it home strong, using just one spare in standing to bring the team back up to 10th at the finish, 3 minutes, 12.8 seconds off the pace.
The Norwegians were as happy with third place, having no Boe brothers or Emil Hegle Svendsen in Pyeongchang. Christiansen commented, “We didn’t have B team here, rather a C team. B and C team tend to have better performances in the relays.”