France wins biathlon men's 30-K relay
Updated: Sunday February 11, 2001 2:46 PM
POKLJUKA, Slovenia (AP) -- Near perfect shooting and fleet-footed skiing by World Cup leader Raphael Poiree of France secured an outstanding 31.9 seconds victory for his country Sunday in the men's 30-kilometer relay, the last event at the Biathlon World Championships.
The silver medal went to Belarus. Norway came in third for the bronze.
Third leg racer Julien Robert set France up for victory by pulling ahead of the field and allowing anchor Poiree, in top shooting and skiing form, to cross the line with more than half a minute to spare.
Giles Marguet and Vincent Defrasne ran the first two legs for France.
Belarus, like France, in excellent shooting form, came in second but could not sustain the blistering pace set by the leaders.
Norway, silver medalists at last year's championships, struggled with shooting problems, forcing second leg runner Frode Andersen to run two penalty laps. Teammate Ole Einar Bjoerndalen also failed to shoot well, but the team's overall speed on the skis put them ahead of the Russian team, last year's gold medalists.
Russia finished fourth, 57.1 seconds off the pace with one missed target.
Germany, one of the favorites and third last year, finished back at 12th after opening runner Marco Morgenstern suffered a near collapse two kilometers from the finish. Appearing disoriented, the racer staggered home behind the leaders, before collapsing across the line. The team did complete the race but were four minutes, 9.6 seconds behind.
Morgenstern was taken to the nearby hospital, where doctors said he was suffering from dehydration and was being given infusions.
Russia emerged at the top of the medal table with three golds from the championship. France finished with two golds and two silver medals and Sweden won two golds and a bronze medal.