Road To The Olympic Games


Norway sweeps World Cup biathlon relay events

Norway used nearly flawless shooting to beat defending champion France at a men's World Cup 4x7.5-kilometre relay event on Sunday.
Norway athletes celebrate after winning the men's relay event at the IBU biathlon World Cup on December 9, 2012 in Hochfilzen, Austria. (Dieter Nagl/AFP/Getty Images)

Norway won both the men's and women's relay events Sunday at the second biathlon World Cup meet of the season.

The Norwegian men used nearly flawless shooting to beat defending champion France in the 4x7.5-kilometre race. The team of Lars Helge Birkeland, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Vetle Sjastad Christiansen and Henrik L'Abee-Lund missed just one target before finishing in 1 hour, 17 minutes, 55.2 seconds.

France also avoided penalty loops but lost time with six shooting mistakes and trailed Norway by 34.5 seconds. Russia had nine missed targets and came 46.6 behind in third.

It was the first men's relay of the season. Norway won two of four events last season but was still edged out by France in the final standings.

The Norwegian women's team of Fanny Welle-Strand Horn, Synnoeve Solemdal, Hilde Fenne and Tora Berger missed five targets and finished in 1 hour, 11 minutes, 45.1 seconds to beat Ukraine by 30.4 seconds in the 4x6K relay.

Ukraine was only ninth after four early shooting mistakes but avoided further misses to gain seven places.

Russia also had four missed targets and trailed Norway by 45.4 seconds in third place. Defending relay champion France took fifth.

The biathlon World Cup continues with a men's 10K sprint in Pokljuka, Slovenia, on Thursday.

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