Fourcade wins men's pursuit, claims overall biathlon WC

Associated Press

3/17/2012 10:44:41 AM

KHANTY-MANSIYSK, Russia -- World champion Martin Fourcade of France claimed the World Cup biathlon overall title after winning the men's pursuit race, while Darya Domracheva of Belarus won the women's race to take the discipline overall title.

Fourcade missed one target and completed the 12.5-kilometre course in 34 minutes, 47.1 seconds. Arnd Peiffer of Germany, who also missed one target and had a penalty lap, was 19.6 seconds behind for second. Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway missed twice and finished another 15.1 seconds behind.

World pursuit champion Domracheva missed two targets early in the race but kept her concentration in the last shooting round to come from behind and claim her fifth victory this season. She completed the 10-kilometre race in 32 minutes, 44.5 seconds.

Defending overall champion Kaisa Makarainen was 24.8 seconds behind for second. Vita Semerenko of Ukraine was another 7.3 seconds behind for third.

The women's World Cup overall leader Magdalena Neuner of Germany, who won the sprint race on Friday and would have clinched her third overall title with a victory in pursuit, missed five targets and finished fourth, 54.2 seconds behind her main rival Domracheva.

Fourcade, who won Friday's sprint race, was leading the race before Peiffer overtook him with quick shooting on the second range. The Frenchman then missed his last target on the next shooting range and was 17.8 second behind Peiffer after completing the penalty lap. But Fourcade turned the race his way after the German missed at the last shooting and fell 23.8 second behind.

Right after crossing the finish line, Fourcade unfastened his skies and lifted them over his head in celebration.

It was the Frenchman's eighth victory of the season, including three gold finishes at the world championships last week.

With one race left in the season, Fourcade leads the overall standings with 1090 points. Svendsen is second, 98 points behind.

Fourcade is only the second Frenchman to win the overall title since the World Cup was launched in the 1977-78 season. Rafael Poiree won his fourth title in 2004.

Fourcade also won the pursuit overall title over Svendsen.

Domracheva was 28.5 seconds behind race leader Neuner after missing a target on the second range. But the German star missed twice on each of the two shooting ranges in standing position to drop out of contention. Domracheva was never challenged after the final shooting and finished the race with the Belarus national flag in her hand.

Domracheva tops the pursuit standings after all eight races with 392 points. Neuner finishes the season second, 20 points behind.

With one race left, Neuner leads the overall standings with 1196 points. Domracheva is second, 43 points behind.

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