Germany made a golden start to the 2017 IBU biathlon World Championships in Austria with victory in the mixed relay.
The competition marked the first race of the 2017 Championships in Hochfilzen and it proved to be an exciting affair with Germany winning their third mixed relay World gold to equal the mark of Norway.
Twenty-five nations lined up on the start line with Vanessa Hinz’s clean prone shooting giving Germany an early lead but her two spares in standing allowed clean-shooting Italian Lisa Vittozzi to take the lead, with Hinz tagging teammate Laura Dahlmeier in sixth.
But while struggling on the shooting range, Dahlmeier compensated with fast skiing to tag Arnd Peiffer in first with France and Italy second and third.
Germany’s lead was extended to 11 seconds after clean shooting in both stages by Peiffer before another strong performance by Simon Schempp brought the Germans home in a winning time of 1:09:06.4.
Silver went to France with Martin Fourcade after trying valiantly to close the gap to the Germans on the last leg before coming home 2.2 seconds back, although the 28-year-old was involved in a disagreement with third-placed Russia, who appeared to snub his handshake during the podium ceremony after he collided with Alexandr Loginov.
The results marked milestone moments with Peiffer equalling Tora Berger with a record of six World Championship podium finishes in the mixed relay with Fourcade also moving onto 21 World Championship medals – tied second with Emil Hegle Svendsen in the all-time list.