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France end German dominance in women's relay

France end German dominance in women's relay
By Sportsbeat

07/01/2018 at 21:01Updated 08/01/2018 at 00:15

A victory for France saw Germany's women beaten in the 4x6km World Cup relay for the first time in more than a year, in Oberhof.

France came home in 1:12:42.4, more than 32s ahead of their German rivals – competing without double relay world champions Laura Dahlmeier and Franziska Hildebrand – with Sweden a further 16s back in third.

The French team led by 6.1s from Italy at the first exchange, despite one shooting miss and both Italy and Belarus going clear.

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Italy were then 23s ahead at the half way point after five further French misses in windy conditions and just two for the leaders.

But the lead switched hands again at the penultimate exchange with France back in pole position and Germany advancing from fourth to second, just 0.8s back in second.

The French team streaked away in the final leg with Justine Braisaz stretching her lead to 32.4s over Germany's Maren Hammerschmidt.

That gave Braisaz and the remainder of the French quartet, Anais Bescond, Celia Aymonier and Anais Chevalier, their first relay victory since January 2016 and condemned Germany to their first loss since March of the same year.

The Germans do still lead the relay standings though, with their 114 points putting them just six ahead of France and 20 ahead of Ukraine.