By Liam Morgan

Schempp sealed a deserved hat-trick with his third consecutive win in the pursuit event ©Getty ImagesGermany's Simon Schempp and Darya Domracheva of Belarus extended their formidable form as they both sealed a hat-trick of International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup victories in Antholz, Italy.

The imperious Schempp was made to work hard this time around though as he eventually crossed the line in the 12.5 kilometre pursuit event, just 0.1 seconds ahead of Austrian Simon Eder in a time of 31min 27.9sec.

Russia's Evgeniy Garanichev, who had to settle for second behind Schempp in the 10km sprint event, was third, and experienced biathlete and International Olympic Committee member Ole Einar Bjørndalen of Norway just missed out on a podium spot as he finished fourth.

Domracheva meanwhile enjoyed a much more comfortable afternoon as she surged to another dominant victory with a 10km pursuit finishing time of 30:58.50, a monumental 1:21 ahead of Daria Virolaynen of Russia.

Finland's Kaisa Mäkäräinen was third and she remains top of the leaderboard, 40 points ahead of Domracheva.

"It was not such an easy competition," Domracheva said.

"I felt like the other girls were just behind me after the first prone.

"But in the last loop, I was a little more relaxed and able to enjoy it."

Domracheva reigned supreme once again with a dominant victory in the pursuit event in Antholz ©Getty ImagesDomracheva reigned supreme once again with a dominant victory in the pursuit event in Antholz ©Getty Images

The men's result sees Schempp cut World Cup leader Martin Fourcade's lead at the top once more, and there are now just 23 points between them as the race for the overall title continues to heat up.

Anton Shipulin, who could only manage 13th in today's pursuit competition, remains in third, 14 points adrift of the dominant German.

The bumper crowd in attendance at the resort in Northern Italy were treated to a live band before the event got underway, and despite being in outstanding form, Schempp was clearly dancing to the wrong beat early on as he fell behind after missing a prone shot.

That gave Garanichev the early advantage as he shot clean, and just as Schempp got in touching distance, the German had another penalty.

Garanichev stayed clean and led the pack into the second loop but he had his first penalty at the opening standing stage which allowed Eder to move within two seconds.

Schempp and the legendary Björndalen weren't far behind as the contest veered towards a dramatic end.

Schempp had to use his trademark sprint finish to claim a narrow victory over Simon Eder ©Getty ImagesSchempp had to use his trademark sprint finish to claim a narrow victory over Simon Eder ©Getty Images

All four men were in with a chance of claiming victory coming into the final skiing stage, and Eder, Schempp, Björndalen and Garnichev remained in contention as they entered the stadium.

Austrian Eder made the first move as Björndalen began to fall off the pace, but Schempp continued to demonstrate his prowess on the snow as he launched a frenetic sprint to the line, eventually sealing a narrow win to complete a commanding hat-trick.

"I had a little bit of luck as I left the fourth shooting last, so I could look at their backs the whole loop and save some power for the sprint," Schempp said.

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