Norway were victorious in the women's 4x6km relay in Finland ©Getty Images

Norway topped the podium in the first International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup race following the suspensions of Russia and Belarus, following victory in the women's 4x6 kilometre relay in Kontiolahti in Finland.

The quartet of Marte Olsbu Røiseland, Tiril Eckhoff, Ida Lien and Ingrid Landmark Tandrevold led from the start, aided by a strong shooting record with only four misses between all four.

Tandrevold finished without an error, crossing the line in 1hr 9min 48.1sec.

This was 37.7 seconds in front of the Swedish team consisting of sisters Hanna and Elvira Öberg, who anchored a squad that started off with Linn Persson and Anna Magnusson.

A minute adrift of the winners were bronze medallists Italy.

Samuela Comola, Dorothea Wierer, Federica Sanfilippo and Lisa Vittozzi bounced back from a slow start to take the final spot on the podium, nearly a minute in front of fourth-placed Germany.

Switzerland, Austria and the United States finished from fifth to seventh, followed by Czech Republic in eighth.

Dzinara Alimbekava is one of those missing due to the suspension of Belarus ©Getty Images
Dzinara Alimbekava is one of those missing due to the suspension of Belarus ©Getty Images

Both Belarus and Russia were missing from the World Cup due to the suspension put on them by the IBU for the nations' involvement in the invasion of Ukraine.

Initially, Russia was to compete on the circuit under the Russian Biathlon Union name but this turned into a full ban on the nation's athletes.

This meant Russian biathletes such as Kristina Reztsova and Belarusians Hanna Sola and Dzinara Alimbekava were unable to compete in today's relay.

The men's 4x7.5km relay is scheduled to take place tomorrow.