Dzinara Alimbekava admits she couldn't believe what she achieved after soaring to her maiden Biathlon World Cup victory in the 7.5km sprint event in Hochfilzen.

The Belarusian star reigned supreme over Tiril Eckhoff and Franziska Preuss to cut the gap on overall leader Hanna Oberg at the summit of the standings.

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Oberg had triumphed in two of the season's first four events in Kontiolahti but could only muster a 29th place finish as she struggled at the second venue of the campaign.

Alimbekava now trails the Swede by just five points in the overall table and toasted a day to remember as capped her first World Cup podium with a brilliant victory.

The 24-year-old said: "I am really happy now, but probably emotionally that I still have not realised that I won.

"I can say that I am really satisfied with today's competition. That is important, maybe sometimes even more important than the result. I am just really, really happy.

"When I left the second shooting stage, I was just looking to see that all of the targets were closed. I was not thinking about the win, just that I would have to work really hard on the last loop."

Alimbekava's time of 20:12.3 put her 8.5s ahead of Eckhoff - who won the 10km pursuit in Finland last time out - and 9.9s ahead of Preuss as an intriguing battled unfolded in Hochfilzen.

Norway's Marte Olsbu Roeiseland was fourth, while Czech star Marketa Davidova finished fifth just under 20 seconds behind the speedy Alimbekava.

Preuss celebrated her maiden podium finish of the season in the event and was thrilled to banish her Hochfilzen demons with an impressive performance.

"I felt good and strong and tried to attack everything I could do in the last loop, and it is cool to be on the podium, especially in Hochfilzen because normally I do not do my best races here," said the 26-year-old.

"I am very happy about my race for sure. I felt good on skis the last weeks, but the shooting range was the problem. Today I managed it a little bit better, just one mistake."

The next event of the women's Biathlon World Cup season will take place on Sunday in the form of the 10km pursuit, where Oberg will be looking to re-establish her dominance in the fifth stage of the campaign.

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