Fourcade wins biathlon sprint race to claim overall title

Associated Press

3/16/2012 10:39:08 AM

KHANTY-MANSIYSK, Russia -- World champions Martin Fourcade of France and Magdalena Neuner of Germany claimed the biathlon World Cup sprint overall titles, winning the discipline races on Friday.

Fourcade shot clean and completed the men's 10-kilometre course in 26 minutes, 25.4 seconds to claim his third straight top podium in sprint, while Neuner overcame two penalty laps and won the women's 7.5-kilometre race in 22 minutes, 11.5 seconds, celebrating her eighth top finish in sprint this season.

Arnd Peiffer of Germany, who missed one target and completed a penalty loop, was 5.3 seconds behind Fourcade for second. Fredrik Lindstrom of Sweden hit all the targets but finished another 1.4 seconds behind for third.

Neuner was followed by Vita Semerenko of Ukraine, who shot clean but finished 3.2 seconds behind. Darya Domracheva of Belarus missed one target and ended the day in third, 16.2 seconds behind.

Fourcade, who won three gold medals at the world championships last week, was 28 seconds ahead of Peiffer after the second shooting range, but struggled on the course over the final three kilometres as heavy snowfall changed the conditions.

After seven podiums in 10 sprint events this season, the Frenchman tops the final standings in the discipline with 423 points. Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway is second with 378, followed by Carl Johan Bergman of Sweden with 287.

With two races left in the season, Fourcade is also closing in on the overall World Cup title as he leads the standings with 1,030 points after eight wins in 24 races so far. Svendsen is second, 84 points behind.

Neuner, who had missed the sprint podium just once this season, tops the standings with 571 points. Domracheva is second with 471 points, followed by Kaisa Makarainen of Finland with 401.

Neuner leads the overall World Cup standings with 1,153 points. Domracheva is 44 points behind. Tora Berger of Norway is third with 989.

Pursuit races are scheduled for Saturday.

Mass-start races will wrap up the season-closing event on Sunday.