Russia claimed victory in the first Biathlon mixed relay World Cup event of the year in Oberhof, Germany with Eduard Latypov edging out Norway's Sturla Holm Laegreid by less than a second on the line.
It was a breathtaking finish to the 4x6km race in Germany, as the Norwegian team closed in during the latter stages, but they just couldn't find the pass to secure the victory.
The Russian side got off to a slow start in their first leg, as Uliana Kaisheva missed three attempts with the rifle to leave them 30 seconds behind initial leaders France at the first switch over.
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But a faultless effort from Svetlana Mironova in the second stint saw her put her country into the lead, and from there they never looked back.
The Norwegian quartet were still 12.6s behind at this point, but some strong skiing from Johannes Dale brought the gap down to just 3.6s as the final skiers took to the snow.
From there it was Latypov against Laegreid, with both giving their all throughout every one of the 6000 metres they contested.
With both athletes missing twice at the shooting range, it was all set up for a sprint finish to the line, with Latypov just about having enough left in the tank to secure the dramatic victory.
Quentin Fillon Maillet secured a third-placed finish for France after a perfect run in the final leg, with Belarus and Germany rounding off the top five in the first event of the new year.
And it was joy for France in the single mixed relay later in the day, as they led from start to finish to finish on top of the podium in Oberhof.
Julia Simon set the tone right from the off in Germany, as she went round without missing a single shot with the rifle, before Emilien Jacquelin did the same on the second leg to put them firmly in the ascendency.
With Norway the nearest challengers 16.4s behind at the midway point, Simon could even afford three missed attempts on her second stint, with Tiril Eckhoff having a disastrous time at the shooting area with six misses out of ten.
That gave the French duo breathing space up front heading into the final changeover, as Jacquelin went clear yet again to seal the win in a victory that has the duo dreaming of World Championship glory in Pokljuka, Slovenia in February.
"We have shown that we know how to learn from our mistakes. We have shown experience and intelligence today. These are races that we can rely on," said Jacquelin.
"We have this point in common with Julia to have a quick shot and a commitment necessary to shine on a mixed single.
"We know each other well, we know our strengths and weaknesses. And we will have the weapons to play at the Worlds."
The Swedish pair of Hanna Oeberg and Sebastian Samuelsson managed to take advantage of Eckhoff's errors to take second spot in Germany, while the Norwegian team ended up in third.
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Highlights: Laegreid and Eckhoff claim sprint success as Maillet secures World Cup
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