France's Fourcade seals magnificent seventh World Cup

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Tyumen (Russia) (AFP)

France's five-time Olympic champion Martin Fourcade secured a seventh consecutive overall biathlon World Cup title on Thursday by winning the men's sprint event in Tyumen, Russia.

Fourcade hit a perfect 10/10 at the shooting range to claim his eighth victory of the season and the 73rd of his career, and is now mathematically assured of finishing top of the standings at the end of the season.

Closest challenger, Johannes Boe of Norway, saw his hopes of a late-season challenge dashed by finishing 14th in the sprint, with two races still to be held in the World Cup series.

Fourcade, a 29-year-old who hails from the Pyrenees mountains, has enjoyed his best season to date on his way to becoming the first biathlete to win the overall World Cup title seven times in succession.

So far, he has secured 19 podium places in as many races, and recently won three gold medals at the winter Games in Pyeongchang.