Norway's men, women win World Cup biathlon relays
HOCHFILZEN, Austria -- Norway won the men's and women's World Cup biathlon relays Sunday.
The Norwegian men used nearly flawless shooting to beat defending champion France in the 4x7.5-kilometer race. The team of Lars Helge Birkeland, Ole Einar Bjoerndalen, Vetle Sjastad Christiansen and Henrik L'Abee-Lund missed one target before finishing in 1 hour, 17 minutes, 55.2 seconds.
France also avoided penalty loops but lost time with six shooting mistakes and trailed Norway by 34.5 seconds. Russia had nine missed targets and came 46.6 behind in third.
It was the first men's relay of the season. Norway won two of four events last season but was still edged by France in the final standings.
The Norwegian women's team of Fanny Welle-Strand Horn, Synnoeve Solemdal, Hilde Fenne and Tora Berger missed five targets and finished in 1 hour, 11 minutes, 45.1 seconds to beat Ukraine by 30.4 seconds in the 4x6K relay.
Ukraine was ninth after four early shooting mistakes but avoided further misses to gain seven places. Russia also had four missed targets and trailed Norway by 45.4 seconds in third place. Defending relay champion France took fifth.
The biathlon World Cup resumes Thursday with a men's 10K sprint in Pokljuka, Slovenia.
Copyright 2012 by The Associated Press
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