Winner Tarjei Boe of Norway reacts as he crosses the finish line during the men's 15-kilometre mass start. Boe completed the course in 39 minutes 51.3 seconds to beat Norwegian teammate Emil Hegle Svendsen by 2.4 seconds. ((Jens Meyer/Associated Press))

World Cup leader Tarjei Boe held off Norwegian teammate Emil Hegle Svendsen to win a 15-kilometre mass-start biathlon World Cup event Sunday.

Boe's fourth victory of the season increased his overall lead on Svendsen to 55 points.

Helena Ekholm of Sweden won the women's 12.5-km mass start in 39 minutes 22.9 seconds, using a late surge to pass Andrea Henkel. The German had two penalty laps but still led until shortly before the finish and ended up 1.6 seconds behind.

Svetlana Sleptsova of Russia was third, 5.2 seconds back.

No Canadians qualified for the event.

Boe had two misses and completed the course in 39:51.3 to beat Svendsen by 2.4 seconds. Svendsen had three misses. Russia's Ivan Tcherezov was third, 4.1 seconds behind, with two missed targets.

Jean-Philippe Le Guellec of Shannon, Que., was 20th and Brendan Green of Hay River, N.W.T., was 25th.

Strong shooting

Le Guellec missed only one shot in his last of four trips to the range, finishing in 41:41.7.

"That was one heck of a hard race. The conditions were super soft and the snow was wet in places," the two-time Olympian, who qualified 16th for the mass start in Friday's sprint, said in a statement. "I had nothing left in my legs, but it was a great day for shooting. I established a tactic in training yesterday that worked well today."

Green, coming off a career-best 14th-place finish in the sprint, crossed the line in 42:11.1.

"It was really fun to have two Canadians with Brendan in the race today which made things interesting," said Le Guellec, adding the race conditions turned from high winds and blowing snow to mild and soft snow. "We've battled through some hard conditions here this week so I’m happy with the results given the circumstances."

A mass format is similar to an individual start, only the distances are shorter, and the shooting follows a sequence of two prone and two standing events. A one-minute penalty is assessed for each missed shot instead of skiing a penalty loop.

Next stop on the World Cup circuit is Ruhpolding, Germany for a series of competitions, starting Wednesday.

With files from CBC Sports