By Liam Morgan

The Norwegian quartet came back from a tough opening two exchanges to seal a second consecutive relay triumph ©Getty ImagesEmil Hegle Svendsen's dominant performance on the last exchange helped Norway claim a second consecutive men's 4x7.5 kilometre relay win at the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup in Antholz, Italy.

Svendsen's clean shooting when it mattered helped deliver success to his team as the Norwegian quartet, which also included Ole Einar Björndalen, Tarjei Boe and Johannes Thingnes Boe, finished in a time of 1hr 15mins 36.7 seconds.

There was to be no fourth straight win for the imperious Simon Schempp, who completed a hat-trick of individual successes yesterday, as the German team finished second, 16.4 seconds behind, while France claimed the final podium spot.

"Two weeks in a row, I have felt better in the relay and we won," Svendsen said.

"It is nice to end the three weeks in January like this; it is a perfect ending."

Germany and France had taken the early advantage and established a 4.1 second lead over the rest of the field going into the second exchange.

Germany's Daniel Boehm had to use all of his spare rounds which handed the initiative back to France's Quentin Fillon Maillet, who managed to extend his team's lead to 15.4 seconds.

Russia were in hot pursuit in third place ahead of the Czech Republic, and a difficult start to the race saw Norway trailing in fourth.

But testament to their spirit and character, the Norwegians fought back as Johannes Thingnes Bø cleaned and capitalised on mistakes from Simon Desthieux to take second place.

Bø, along with Germany's Arnd Peiffer, reached the end of the third exchange and there was just 0.5 seconds between them, but Norway seized the advantage in the anchor leg as Svendsen's shooting proved too hot for Schempp to handle, before he guided his team home to a battling victory.

The German women went one better than the men as they strolled to a commanding victory in AntholzThe German women went one better than the men as they strolled to a commanding victory in Antholz ©Getty Images

Despite narrowly missing out on a victory in the men's race, Germany did have success to cheer in the women's 4x6km event, as Franziska Hildebrand, Franziska Preuss, Luise Kummer and Laura Dahlmeier romped to a commanding 35-second win.

Following recent conditions at the event that were perhaps more suited to summer than winter, the wind made an unwelcome return, which caused the athletes severe difficulty on the shooting stages.

But the German quartet battled through the tough conditions, with a dominant anchor leg from Dahlmeier a key factor in their win as they finished in a time of 1:18:47.9 with just two penalties.

"It was a perfect race and I had much luck on the shooting range," Dahlmeier said.

"Now I think anything is possible for Kontiolahti [World Championships]."

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