Austria’s Simon Eder fended off a strong challenge from France’s Martin Fourcade to claim his first win of the International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup season in the men’s 12.5 kilometres pursuit in Ruhpolding, Germany.
Eder clocked a time of 33 min 19.1sec after incurring a single penalty and finished 4.2 seconds ahead of Fourcade, who was penalised twice.
Czech Republic’s Michal Slesingr, one of only two men to shoot clean, was 5.1 seconds back in third.
Fourcade managed to close the gap between him and Eder by seven seconds in the final loop, but it wasn’t enough to prevent his Austrian opponent from skiing home alone.
"I didn't think it was possible," said Eder.
"After the first mistake, I thought I couldn't get to the podium.
"At the last loop I heard that I had 17 seconds gap, and I hoped I had fast legs to keep this gap."
Despite falling just short of victory, Fourcade remains top of the overall World Cup standings on 481 points, followed by Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen and Tarjei Bø on 394 and 360 respectively.
Bø and Svendsen were the silver and bronze medallists in yesterday’s 10km sprint, but had to settle for fourth and fifth today.
Germany’s Laura Dahlmeier won for the third time this season in the women’s 10km pursuit, clocking a time of 32:35.9 with one penalty on home snow.
Czech Republic’s Gabriela Soukalová was 7.3 seconds back in the runners-up spot after matching Dahlmeier on the shooting range, while Italy’s Dorothea Wierer was third with two penalties and a time of 33:29.5.
Soukalová had a 13-second lead as she left the stadium, but Dahlmeier steadily moved closer to the lead and managed to pass her rival on the last downhill curve before pulling away for victory.
"It was very hard to fight on the last loop," said Dahlmeier.
"When I came closer to her; on the curve I was on the left side.
"I gave everything on the last uphill."
The Overall World Cup lead remains with Soukalová, whose tally of 467 points puts her 53 ahead of France’s Marie Dorin Habert.
Habert, who finished fifth today behind Norway’s Tiril Eckhoff, is followed by Germany’s Franziska Hildebrand in the standings on 399 points.
The competition, the fourth stop on the IBU World Cup calendar, was originally scheduled to take place in Oberhof but the German Ski Federation informed the IBU that they would be unable to stage the event due to weather conditions in the town last month.
A lack of snow was cited as the reason for the venue needing to be changed and the IBU opted to name Ruhpolding, which is more than 450km away to the south, as the replacement.
The World Cup will continue tomorrow with the men's and women's mass start races.