By Michael Pavitt

Emil Hegle Svendsen passed Simon Schempp to give Norway the win in the relay ©Getty ImagesNorway claimed a narrow victory over Germany in the men's biathlon World Cup relay event in Ruhpolding after Emil Hegle Svendsen caught and passed Simon Schempp in the closing stages.

The Norwegian quartet of Johannes Thingnes Boe, Erlend Bjoentegaard, Ole Einar Bjørndalen and Svendsen finished just 4.6sec ahead of their German counterparts, completing the 4x7.5 kilometres course in 1hour 9min 42sec.

The teams were helped by the course in Germany being nearly windless, ensuring that that the biathletes enjoyed perfect shooting conditions.

This was highlighted in the early stages of the event in which a tightly bunched group formed, before Slovenia managed to break away, with Norway and Germany in hot pursuit.

The order shifted again following a clean prone stage by the German Arnd Peiffer, as he looked to break away from his rivals and establish a lead for his team, in his home country.

Norway were able to remain close to the German team and, despite trailing after the final shooting range, Svendsen was able to shadow Simon Schempp until the final small bridge before pulling away from the German for the victory.

Crowds experienced a close fought race in Ruhpolding Germany ©Getty ImagesCrowds experienced a close fought race in Ruhpolding Germany ©Getty Images

The winners of the previous two relays this season, Russia, trailed Norway and Germany in third.

"I was not sure that I would catch a strong athlete like Simon," admitted Svendsen after the race.

"It took a lot of energy to catch up, so I stayed behind him to recover some.

"I knew that I am good in turns so I waited to one of the last turns before the bridge.

"I think my plan worked pretty well."

In less positive news, the International Biathlon Union (IBU) also released details today that Latvian biathlete Edgars Piksons has been given a two year ban from the sport after failing an out of competition drug test in September.

It follows the news on Monday (January 12) that former World Championship medallist Sergei Sednev failed a test, with the IBU President Besseberg also revealing that more scandals could follow.

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