Fourcade closes in on overall World Cup championship

TYUMEN, Russia (AP) — Martin Fourcade won the biathlon World Cup sprint title for the seventh straight year after a victory in Thursday’s race.

The Frenchman went into the race trailing Johannes Thingnes Boe of Norway by 31 points, but he ended up winning the title by two points.

Fourcade was clean at both shooting stages and beat French teammate Simon Desthieux by 33.2 seconds in Thursday’s sprint race. Fredrik Lindstroem of Sweden was third.

Boe lost time with two penalties on the first shooting stage and finished 14th.

Fourcade’s win moves him closer to a seventh consecutive overall World Cup title. He leads Boe by 82 points with two races remaining.

The United States, Canadian and Czech teams, as well as Olympic gold medalist Sebastian Samuelsson of Sweden, skipped the race. They argued that Russia was not fit to host the competition because of its doping scandals.

The Ukrainian team is not competing after the country’s government banned its athletes from competing in Russia, which it says is illegally occupying its territory.

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