Martin Fourcade won France’s first gold medal of the Sochi Olympics on Monday with his victory in the biathlon 12.5km pursuit. Another Frenchman Jean-Guillaume Beatrix took the bronze.
Overall World Cup leader Fourcade, starting sixth, shot an almost perfect 19 out of 20 and produced an impressive display on the skis to beat silver medallist Ondrej Moravec of the Czech Republic by 14.1 seconds.
Another Frenchman, Jean-Guillaume Beatrix, came back from 14th on the starting line to claim bronze and deny Norway's Bjoerndalen a record-breaking medal.
The two Frenchmen, who have been friends since childhood according to the AFP, embraced at the finish line.
Bjoerndalen, who had carried his time advantage into the pursuit after winning Saturday's sprint, made three mistakes in the shooting.
Fourcade, 25, was a silver medallist in the mass start event in Vancouver four years ago. This year, he wiped out a six-second deficit at the start to arrive first on the range for the first of four shooting sessions.
Bjoerndalen shot much quicker than the Frenchman and reclaimed the lead but lost ground when he made his first mistake in the second prone shooting session.
He made further mistakes in each of the two standing shooting sessions and the resulting 150-metre penalty loops took their toll on the Norwegian.
Moravec shot a perfect 20 out of 20 but could not match Fourcade's devilish pace on the skis.
Fourcade made no mistake in the final shooting stage and knew gold it was in the bag, clinching his fist as he began his celebrations.
(FRANCE 24 with REUTERS and AFP)
Date created : 2014-02-10