|Winner Martin Fourcade of France celebrates after the finish in the men's 12.5 km pursuit at the IBU World Cup Biathlon at Khanty-Mansiysk, 2759 km northeast of Moscow, Russia, Saturday, March 17, 2012. (AP Photo/Mikhail Metzel)|
France's Fourcade wins overall biathlon title
KHANTY-MANSIYSK, Russia—World champion Martin Fourcade of France won the World Cup biathlon overall title after capturing the men's pursuit race. Darya Domracheva of Belarus won the women's race to take the discipline overall title.
Fourcade missed one target and completed the 12.5-kilometer course in 34 minutes, 47.1 seconds. Arnd Peiffer of Germany, who also missed one target and had a penalty lap, was 19.6 seconds behind for second. Emil Hegle Svendsen of Norway missed twice and finished another 15.1 seconds behind.
After crossing the finish line, Fourcade unfastened his skies and lifted them over his head in celebration. It was his eighth victory of the season, including three gold finishes at the world championships last week.
Domracheva, the world pursuit champion, missed two targets early in the race but kept her concentration in the last shooting round to come from behind and claim her fifth victory this season. She completed the 10-kilometer race in 32 minutes, 44.5 seconds.
Defending overall champion Kaisa Makarainen was 24.8 seconds behind for second. Vita Semerenko of Ukraine was another 7.3 seconds behind for third.
Magdalena Neuner of Germany, the women's World Cup overall leader, won the sprint race Friday. She would have clinched her third overall title with a victory in pursuit but missed five targets and finished fourth, 54.2 seconds behind her main rival Domracheva.
With one race left in the season, Fourcade leads the overall standings with 1090 points. Svendsen is second, 98 points behind. Fourcade is only the second Frenchman to win the overall title since the World Cup was launched in the 1977-78 season. Rafael Poiree won his fourth title in 2004. Fourcade also won the pursuit overall title over Svendsen.
Domracheva was 28.5 seconds behind race leader Neuner after missing a target on the second range. But the German missed twice on each of the two shooting ranges in standing position to drop out of contention. Domracheva was never challenged after the final shooting and finished the race with the Belarus national flag in her hand.
Domracheva tops the pursuit standings after all eight races with 392 points. Neuner finishes the season second, 20 points behind. With one race left, Neuner leads the overall standings with 1196 points. Domracheva is second, 43 points behind.
Mass-start races end the season Sunday.