Bleary-eyed Johannes Dale fulfilled a dream come true after claiming a maiden Biathlon World Cup victory in the 10km sprint in Hochfilzen.

The Norwegian ace toppled Quentin Fillon Maillet by over 17s on the Austrian slopes while fellow French star Fabien Claude scooped the final spot on the podium.

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Dale was chasing a maiden top three finish of the season at the event but admits achieving a first ever victory is beyond even his wildest expectations.

The emotional 23-year-old said: "I am so emotional. I have cried so much today.

"This was a big dream for me. As you can see, I am tearing up, but they are happy tears. I am super happy.

"I waited for so long and to have a victory in the World Cup is unbelievable! There are a lot of emotions going through my body.

"I felt very, very good today. It was not super amazing but very good, and I pushed hard from the start.

"The first part of the loop suits me - I just used all my powers to ski. When I got ten out of ten, it could not be any better on the shooting range.

"I had a lot of power on the last lap. I was almost not tired today so I just pushed and pushed. It was so nice to finally get a win."

Dale was in searing form in the fourth event of the season as he prevented Johannes Thingnes Boe extending his advantage at the summit of the overall standings.

He stopped the clock in a total time of 23:32.5 in a time 17.1s quicker than Fillon Maillet and a further 11.9s faster than Claude.

Dale's compatriot Boe finished fourth in a time 41.2s slower than the race winner, while Swedish star Sebastian Samuelsonn was fifth 2.1s behind Boe.

Claude, 25, also finished second in last week's 12.5km pursuit in Kontiolahti and hailed his consistency after continuing his impressive start to the season.

"I am really happy about this second podium of the season in a row," he added.

"Today I felt very good on my skis during the first and second lap. I tried to shoot clean - maybe a little bit too fast in standing.

"I missed the last bullet one more time. I promise you in the next sprint, I will put this last bullet [on the target]."

The field will now do battle in Saturday's 12.5km pursuit event in the same location, where dominant Dale will be bidding to extend his hegemony and claim a second World Cup triumph in the space of two days.

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