Domracheva, Schempp win biathlon World Cup 12.5K mass start

Germany's Franziska Preuss (left), Belarus' Darya Domracheva and Czech Republic's Veroknika Vitkova celebrate their top-three spots.  

Adam Pretty/Bongarts/Getty Images

RUHPOLDING, Germany — Simon Schempp of Germany beat Quentin Fillon Maillet and Michal Slesingr in a photo finish to win a 15-kilometer mass start for his first biathlon World Cup victory of the season on Sunday.

Schempp got the tip of his ski ahead of Fillon Maillet of France and Slesingr of the Czech Republic as all three finished in 35 minutes, 42.8 seconds. All three shot cleanly and avoided any penalty loops.

"It finally worked out in the final sprint," Schempp said. "A victory in front of the home fans. What more could you want?"

Norway’s Emil Hegle Svendsen and Ole Einar Bjorndalen were fourth and fifth, respectively, with one missed target each, followed by Russia’s Anton Shipulin, who missed two.

Overall leader Martin Fourcade could only finish 1:19.8 back in 21st after missing four targets.

The Frenchman still leads the standings after 12 of 25 events, with 516 points. Shipulin is second on 471, with Schempp third on 429.

Earlier, Darya Domracheva of Belarus won the women’s 12.5-kilometer mass start for her fourth World Cup win of the season.

The Olympic champion overcame three missed targets and finished in 35 minutes, 17.5 seconds, beating Germany’s Franziska Preuss by 16.5 seconds.

"I like the mass start, the head-to-head battle, just like in the pursuit," Domracheva said after her second mass-start victory in succession. "But I also like the sprint and individual where you have to fight against yourself."

The 20-year-old Preuss, who crossed the line to a great reception from celebrating home fans, had two missed targets. She was followed by Czech biathlete Veronika Vitikova, 22.9 seconds back with three missed targets.

Valj Semerenko of Ukraine and Anais Bescond of France were fourth and fifth, respectively, each with two missed targets.

Kaisa Makarainen of Finland finished seventh after missing four targets but she still led the standings after 12 of 25 events with 558 points.