Canada's Nathan Smith finishes 6th in biathlon 12.5km pursuit

Simon Eder edged overall biathlon World Cup leader Martin Fourcade to win the men's 12.5-kilometer pursuit on Saturday in Ruhpolding, Germany. Nathan Smith of Calgary finished in sixth place.

Simon Eder edges World Cup leader Martin Fourcade to win race

Nathan Smith of Canada competes during the IBU Biathlon World Cup men's 12.5km pursuit on Saturday in Ruhpolding, Germany. (Vianney Thibaut/Agence Zoom/Getty Images)

Simon Eder edged overall biathlon World Cup leader Martin Fourcade to win the men's 12.5-kilometer pursuit on Saturday in Ruhpolding, Germany, while Calgary's Nathan Smith finished in 6th place. 

The Austrian missed one target at the first range but shot cleanly after that to win in 33 minutes, 19.1 seconds, beating Fourcade, who missed two, by 4.2 seconds.

"I didn't think it was possible. After [the] first mistake I thought I couldn't get to the podium. At the last loop I heard that I had a 17 seconds gap, and I hoped I had fast legs to keep this gap," Eder said after his first victory of the season.

Fourcade was circumspect, saying he was satisfied to be back on the podium getting points for the total score, but "we can also see it as a lost victory."

Michal Slesingr of the Czech Republic was third, 5.1 behind after shooting cleanly.

Fourcade leads the standings after 10 of 26 competitions with 481 points, ahead of Svendsen on 394, and the Frenchman is also top of the discipline standings with 228 points, ahead of Boe with 172.

Smith clocked a time of 34 minutes, 4.2 seconds, 45 seconds behind the winner and missed just one shot in his first stop at the range and was perfect in the final three rounds of shooting. 

"I'm super happy with it. The best part is I shot clean on my last standing. I have had trouble with it a few times this year when I had the opportunity to finish in the top-six," said Smith. "I worked on that a lot over Christmas, and I'm glad today I did that five out of five."

Starting in 15th spot, nearly one minute behind the leader of Friday's sprint race, Smith hammered the pace and knocked one target down after another to climg the leaderboard.

"It was really difficult today. The snow was soft everywhere. Never had any rest because you were always working trying to maintain balance," said Smith.

"I wasn't sure who was chasing me down on the last lap. I noticed in the final third it was [Johannes Thingnes]. I could tell he was looking tired losing his balance a bit. I stuck behind him a bit and managed to take him at the finish."

Laura Dahlmeier of Germany later defeated overall leader Gabriela Soukalova of the Czech Republic by 7.3 seconds to win her third successive women's 10K pursuit.

Dahlmeier, who was fourth in Friday's sprint, missed one target and finished in 32:35.9 for her fifth World Cup victory.

"It was extremely difficult. It was a brutal fight on the last round. I wished I could have been on the coach watching it on TV," Dahlmeier said.

Soukalova, who was also second on Friday, missed one target.

Italy's Dorothea Wierer was third 53.6 behind with two missed targets, ahead of Norway's Tiril Eckhoff, 57.3 behind with three, and Marie Dorin Habert of France, 57.5 behind with two.

Soukalova leads the World Cup standings by 53 points from Dorin Habert. The Czech also leads the pursuit standings by five points over Dahlmeier.

The World Cup was moved to Ruhpolding from Oberhof due to a lack of snow.

The mass start races are scheduled for Sunday.

With files from CBC Sports and Cross Country Canada

Broadcast Partners


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.