By Liam Morgan

The Czech Republic claimed victory in the 4x6km relay event at the IBU World Cup Biathlon in Oberhof ©Getty ImagesThe Czech Republic women's team powered to victory in the 4x6 kilometres relay of the fourth BMW International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup event in Oberhof, Germany.

The quartet of Eva Puskarcikova, Gabriela Soukalova, Jitka Landova and Veronika Vitkova used only seven spare rounds on their way to finishing 8.9 seconds ahead of the French squad on the opening day of the fourth World Cup of the season. 

Belarus' Darya Domracheva proved pivotal in her team's third-placed finish after an excellent recovery from 1min 44sec down on the third exchange.

Norway, Italy and Ukraine rounded off the top six teams, with Russia, Austria, Poland and Germany completing the top 10.

Typical wintry conditions greeted the 21 nations on the start line, and the first race after the Christmas period got off to a slow start.

Competition however heated up at the second exchange as Valja Semerenko put Ukraine into an early lead, before France's Marie Dobin Habert - competing in her first World Cup event of the season - moved to within a mere 0.1 second of Semerenko.

Five teams were in the mix during the third, and Norway proved to be the biggest mover at this point, surging from 11th to fourth as they headed into the vital last exchange.

A superb performance on the final exchange from Veronika Vitkova helped the Czech Republic to victory in the fourth IBU World Cup of the season in Oberhof ©Getty ImagesA superb performance on the final exchange from Veronika Vitkova helped the Czech Republic to victory in the fourth IBU World Cup of the season in Oberhof ©Getty Images

As the relay neared its end, it became a two-woman battle between Vitkova and France's Anais Bescond.

But an impressive performance from the Czech ensured her side would earn victory with a spirited fightback having been 8.3 seconds behind.

"The final shooting was quite hard as I was nervous; but I really wanted to win," she said.

Dorin Habert admitted she was surprised by her own form as she was competing in only her third international race.

"I have only had two national races before this; I did not expect my form to be so good," the Frenchwoman said.

The men's 4x7.5km relays is the next event in the competition and is due to take place tomorrow. 

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