France's Julia Simon won the women's 7.5 kilometres sprint at the IBU World Cup in Otepää, Estonia ©Getty Images

Julia Simon earned her first International Biathlon Union (IBU) World Cup victory of the season in Otepää, Estonia - the penultimate event in this season’s series.

The French athlete took the honours in the 7.5 kilometres sprint as she recorded 20min 45.8sec.

In second, eleven seconds behind, was Vanessa Voigt of Germany, who earned her first place on a World Cup rostrum.

Third place went to Norway’s Karoline Offigstad Knotten, who was 12.8 seconds adrift of Simon, with fourth place going to Germany’s Beijing 2022 15km individual champion at 16.1 seconds behind the leader.

With one more event in prospect at Otepää and three more at the Holmenkollen in Oslo, scheduled from March 17 to 20, the women’s overall standings are now led by Norway’s double gold medallist at the Beijing 2022 Winter Olympics, Marte Olsbu Røiseland, who has 759 points.

Second place is occupied by Elvira Öberg of Sweden, who has 665.

Third-placed Dzinara Alimbekeva of Belarus, on 589, will climb no higher as she is ineligible to take part following measures taken by the IBU in response to the invasion of Ukraine by Russia and Belarus.

Tomorrow both the men and women have mass start races scheduled over 15km and 12.5km respectively, while both mixed relay and single mixed relay events are set to take place on Sunday (March 13).