France take mixed relay glory at biathlon World Cup
A consistent display saw France triumph in the mixed relay on Sunday afternoon – the final event of the biathlon World Cup weekend in Kontiolahti, Finland.
The French team of Marie Dorin Habert, Anais Bescond, Simon Desthieux and Quentin Fillon Maillet led from start to finish as they completed the course in 1:11:34.5 hours, which was 11 seconds ahead of the German quartet with Ukraine in third.
Dorin Habert got the French off to an almost perfect start as she shot flawlessly in the prone and required just a single spare in the standing.
"I made a really good prone shooting, quite fast, so it's nice for me," admitted Dorin Habert. "Then I tried to push hard on the tracks to have a few seconds more behind the others."
The foursome – despite being without superstar Martin Fourcade, who opted not to take part – never looked back from there as they cruised to victory but it was a different story for Germany, as they overcame a slow start to take silver.
The Germans were ninth following Nadine Horchler's efforts on the first stage but Maren Hammerschmidt brought them back into contention before Benedikt Doll and Arnd Peiffer sealed second spot.
Their performance was also enough to secure the seasonal Mixed Relay Cup after the German team won gold at the World Championships in Hochfilzen in February, and claimed silver in the other mixed relay race at the World Cup event in Ostersund back in November.
Back in Kontiolahti, it was Ukraine – represented by Iryna Varvynets, Olga Abramova, Sergey Semenov and Dmytro Pidruchnyi – who clinched third spot ahead of Russia as Pidruchnyi pulled away from Evgeniy Garanichev on the final leg.