svendson-110112-584

Emil Hegle Svendsen celebrates his 19th career World Cup victory Wednesday in Germany. ((Uwe Lein/Associated Press))

Olympic champion Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway earned his third biathlon World Cup victory of the season Wednesday, winning a men's 20-kilometre individual race to close the gap on overall leader and compatriot Tarjei Boe.

Svendsen missed just one of 20 targets to clock 50 minutes 39.4 seconds on the opening day of the meet in Ruhpolding, Germany.

Frenchman Martin Fourcade also missed one shot to finished second, 7.4 seconds behind.

Dominik Landertinger of Austria was third, 23.7 seconds behind Svendsen.

Fourcade's brother Simon shot cleanly to finish fourth, followed by Boe.

Brendan Green of Canmore, Alta., was the top Canadian at 25th. Jean-Philippe Leguellec of Shannon, Que., was 49th, Marc-Andre Bedard of Valcartier, Que., was 76th and Scott Perras of Regina was 84th.

Boe won the last two races and four of the last six, and remains atop the overall standings with 489 points. Svendsen is 35 points behind after his 19th career World Cup victory.