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France’s Martin Fourcade holds nerve to clinch biathlon pursuit gold

Fourcade holds nerve to defend Olympic biathlon pursuit title

12/02/2018 at 11:08Updated 12/02/2018 at 12:51

France’s Martin Fourcade held his nerve to claim gold in the men’s biathlon 12.5km pursuit and brush off the disappointment of finishing eighth in Sunday’s sprint.

Six-time Overall World Cup winner Fourcade, who won two golds in Sochi four years ago, finished 12 seconds ahead of Sweden’s Sebastian Samuelsson, who took silver ahead of France’s Benedikt Doll.

Just 37 seconds separated the top 15 going into the event - with Fourcade starting eighth - and it was Austria’s Julian Eberhard who found himself ahead of a trio of Germans after the first shooting, but then narrowly trailed initial race leader Arnd Peiffer going into the second bout.

One miss for Eberhard in the prone saw Peiffer take a nine-second lead, and while focus switched to the advances of Johannes Thingnes Boe, the Norwegian - who has won eight World Cup events this season – missed twice to put him on the back foot once more.

A pack of six trailed Peiffer going into the third round of shooting, but it was Fourcade who showed his champion quality as the only one of seven not to pick up a penalty.

Fourcade opened up a 30-second lead as a result, and a flawless final round of shooting enabled the 11-time world champion to finish flag-in-hand.

A tight battle for second saw Samuelsson cross the line three seconds ahead of Doll, while Peiffer ended up eighth.