Biathlon - Fourcade wins World Cup opener in Ostersund

Martin Fourcade began the defence of his World Cup crown in perfect style by winning the 20km individual event in Ostersund.

Biathlon - Fourcade wins World Cup opener in Ostersund

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2012 Östersund Martin Fourcade

The Frenchman, who won eight races last season en-route to the Crystal Globe, repeated his victory in the Swedish curtain-raiser by crossing the line in 50:44.7

Fourcade missed just once, his third effort in the first standing shoot, to finish 12.3 seconds clear of Dominik Landertinger.

The Austrian, fourth in the individual standings last year, also hit 19 targets and proved his fitness after spring knee surgery with a strong ski.

German Erik Lesser hit all 20 targets to record a maiden World Cup podium finish, finishing third just 21.7 seconds back.

Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen, the 2009/10 World Cup champion, missed out on a 29th career victory after two misses in his first standing shoot. Those two minutes in penalties meant he had to settle for fourth, 37.1 seconds behind the winner.

A shock looked on the cards when Bulgaria's Krasimir Anev and Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic - neither of whom have ever been on a World Cup podium - entered the range for the final time with a perfect shooting record.

But Anev missed his final shot and had to settle for a career-best eighth, behind Russia’s Olympic mass start champion Evegeny Ustyugov, Austrian Friedrich Pinter, wearing bib 93, and World Cup debutant Erlend Bjoentegaard, 91.4 seconds adrift of the winner.

Moravec pushed two wide and finished 14th.

Home expectations were raised when Carl Johan Bergman and Bjorn Ferry hit their first 10 targets but three costly misses in the second-half of the race saw them finish over two minutes behind the winner

Norway’s legend Ole Einar Bjorndalen, compatriot Tarjei Boe, Jaroslav Soukop of the Czech Republic and France’s Simon Fourcade were all missing due to illness or injury.

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