Overall World Cup leader Martin Fourcade of France won the men's individual race on Thursday, capturing his first gold medal at the biathlon world championships in the Czech Republic after three silvers.

Fourcade missed one target, adding a minute for a final time of 49 minutes, 43.0 seconds across the 20-kilometre course to claim his fifth overall triumph at the worlds.

"I was confident from the morning," Forcade said. "I was so focused. I knew that I just had to listen and follow my body."

Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway, who has won three golds at the championships, pulled out before the race because of a cold.

Fourcade took silver in the sprint and pursuit races and also anchored the French mixed relay team to second place.

Tim Burke of the United States missed one target to finish 23.5 seconds back for silver, his first podium at the worlds and only the second medal ever for the United States.

"I have been waiting my whole life for this," Burke said. "It is really special, but I think it will take a couple of days to sink in."

Fredrik Lindstroem of Sweden was 33.7 behind in third.

The championships continue with the women's relay on Friday.