Zidek wins biathlon opener

Zidek wins biathlon opener
By Eurosport

01/12/2010 at 17:32Updated 01/12/2010 at 20:35

Sweden's Anna Carin Zidek took victory on home snow as the World Cup biathlon season got underway in Ostersund.

Zidek produced a perfect shooting performance to win the 15km race ahead of Marie-Laure Brunet.

Zidek nee Olofsson produced a time of 37 minutes, 7.3 seconds and it proved good enough for her 12th World Cup victory as she finished 8.9 seconds ahead of Brunet who won pursuit bronze at the Vancouver Olympics.

Brunet hit four of five in both standing shoots but was quicker over the tracks to give French biathlon hope for the future following the summer retirements of Sandrine Bailly and Sylvie Bécaert.

The 2008/2009 World Cup champion and fellow Swede Helena Ekholm completed the podium, a further 33.8 seconds behind.

Ekholm, who changed her name from Jonsson after getting married in summer, won the opening race last year but a rare miss in the standing position on her final visit to the range cost her a precious one minute penalty.

Valj Semerenko, Iana Romanova, who also hit all 20 shots, Olga Zaitseva, Teja Gregorin and Svetlana Sleptsova followed Ekholm home.

Defending World Cup champion and double Olympic gold medallist Magdalena Neuner was missing due to flu and with Kati Wilhelm, Martina Beck and Simone Hauswald have retired in the summer, Andrea Henkel was the best of a new-look Germany team in ninth.