Frenchman Martin Fourcade moved a step closer to claiming the men's overall International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup title by winning the 10 kilometres sprint race at Khanty Mansiysk, Russia.
Fourcade shot clean on the way to his eighth win of the season in a time of 23min 47secs, which proved enough to beat nearest overall challenger and home favourite Anton Shipulin, who finished 13 seconds off the pace.
Germany's Benedikt Doll was third while Andrejs Rastorgujevs of Latvia narrowly missed out on a podium place as he came fourth.
The result stretches Fourcade's lead at the top of the standings as the World Cup season veers towards a dramatic climax, and he will have the chance to wrap up the title in the 12.5km pursuit event on Saturday (March 21).
"I knew that I could be conservative today or go very hard," Fourcade, who won 20km individual gold at the recent World Championships in Kontiolahti, Finland, said.
"I decided to not be conservative and not have any regrets.
"I am very happy to win here in Khanty Mansiysk; this is the place where I won my first World Championship."
Germany's Doll led from the start of the race as the likes of Fourcade and Shipulin were in the middle of the pack, while it proved to be a tumultuous opening for Norwegian brothers Johannes Thingnes Bø and Tarjei Bø as both accrued penalties early on.
Doll looked as though he might be tough to catch but the 26-year-old Frenchman fought back valiantly, demonstrating his composure to shoot clean at the prone stage and wrestle the lead from the German.
Shipulin wasn't out of contention and he remained hot on Fourcade's heels, but the gap started to widen as the race neared its end and the Frenchman managed to hold on and he crossed the line ahead of the Russian to seal a superb victory.
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