Johannes Thingnes Bø made it three wins from four during this World Cup season ©Getty Images

Norway's Johannes Thingnes Bø continued his fine early-season form by clinching sprint victory at the International Biathlon Union World Cup in Hochfilzen.

Bø has now won three World Cup events in a row with only four held so far this term.

The 25-year-old, who won individual Olympic gold at the Pyeongchang 2018 Games in February, finished in a time of 24min 49.2sec with one penalty.

He was the 21st starter and stormed out of the blocks to take the lead at the first split.

Strong speed on the skis saw him nearly 15 seconds in front of the field at his first trip to the range, where he cleared the prone stage.

Bø then had a lead of more than 40 seconds as he approached the standing stage and although this was slashed after a trip to the penalty loop following a missed last target, it was not sufficient for his rivals to capitalise.

Not even France's triple Pyeongchang gold medallist Martin Fourcade had enough speed to overhaul Bø, despite a clean shooting performance.

Martin Fourcade shot clean at the range but had to make do with second spot ©Getty Images
Martin Fourcade shot clean at the range but had to make do with second spot ©Getty Images

Fourcade, hoping for an eighth overall World Cup title in a row, finished 8.6sec behind the Norwegian.

Germany's Benedikt Doll, who won the sprint world title at Hochfilzen in 2017, was also perfect with the rifle but had to settle for bronze, 10.2sec off the pace. 

Bø's early season exploits means he has 216 points on top of the overall World Cup standings.

France's Antonin Guigonnat has 162 in second with Austria's Simon Eder third on 150.

The Norwegian will start tomorrow's pursuit in pole position, with the women's pursuit also scheduled.

Competition has been overshadowed, however, by an announcement from Austrian police that they are investigating five Russian athletes and five support staff for doping offences during last year's World Championships.