Road To The Olympic Games

Andreas Birnbacher flawless in winning 10km biathlon sprint

German biathlete Andreas Birnbacher shot flawlessly in earning his fifth career win, claiming the men's World Cup 10-kilometre sprint in Hochfilzen, Austria, on Friday.
Andreas Birnbacher takes pause at the zeroing in Friday's sprint at Hochfilzen, Austria. (Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images)

German biathlete Andreas Birnbacher shot flawlessly Friday to win a men's World Cup 10-kilometre sprint for his fifth career victory at Hochfilzen, Austria.

Birnbacher finished the Pillerseetal course in 25 minutes 31.1 seconds to finish 0.4 seconds ahead of defending overall champion Martin Fourcade of France, who missed one target.

Jakov Fak of Slovenia missed once and was 13.7 seconds back in third place.

Jean-Philippe Le Guellec of Quebec City finished 10th. It was his first sprint competition since becoming first Canadian male to win a World Cup biathlon event last week.

Le Guellec posted a time of 26:05.1 after missing once in his final round of shooting.

"It was another great day, but goes to show how much a miss can be costly," he said. "I just overcompensated for the wind a bit.

"I was a little more nervous than usual heading into the race, but was able to focus without a problem once I passed the start gate. I'm totally happy to follow up last week's race with a Top 10."

Fourcade retained his lead in the overall standings with 205 points, ahead of Birnbacher with 164. Evgeny Ustyugov of Russia is third with 144 points.

Regina's Scott Perras was 25th, while Calgary's Nathan Smith finished tied for 73rd.

Darya Domracheva of Belarus won the women's 7.5-kilometre sprint, finishing in 22 minutes, 24.7 seconds to beat Kaisa Makarainen of Finland by 4.7 seconds. Both athletes missed one target.

Tora Berger of Norway also missed once and was 12.9 seconds back in third. Berger leads the sprint and overall standings, ahead of Domracheva.

Rosanna Crawford of Canmore, Alta., was 24th, Megan Imrie of Falcon Lake, Man., was 56th, Megan Heinicke of Prince George, B.C. was 57th and Zina Kocher of Red Deer, Alta., was 73rd.

The men's and women's pursuit races at the biathlon meet are on Saturday.

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