World Cup leader Tarjei Boe of Norway won the men's race at the world biathlon championships Tuesday for his first major title.

World Cup leader Tarjei Boe of Norway won the men’s race at the world biathlon championships Tuesday for his first major title.

He was followed by Russia’s Maxim Maksimov and Austria’s Christoph Sumann. The top American was Leif Nordgren in 21st place.

Boe missed one target and was timed in 48 minutes, 29.9 seconds over the 20-kilometer course for his fifth top-three finish this season and first individual world title.

“It’s the most remarkable and memorable moment in my life,” Boe said.

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He also was part of the winning Norwegian mixed relay team at these worlds. He skied on Norway’s gold-medalist relay team at the Vancouver Olympics.

Maksimov shot cleanly but couldn’t keep Boe’s pace and finished 40.0 seconds behind. This was Russia’s first medal in six races at the championships.

Sumann led Boe by 48 seconds entering the final shooting range, but a miss added a minute to his time. He ended 45.5 seconds behind the winner.

Boe had an early start number and had to wait for most of his major rivals to finish to find out he had won.

“It should be a gold medal,” he said as the race was close to the end.

Maksimov was one of four of 123 competitors to hit all the targets.

“I’ve surprised everyone today,” he said.

Boe leads the World Cup standings with 979 points, followed by countryman Emil Hegle Svendsen with 887. The world championship races also count toward the World Cup standings.

Svendsen was the second-fastest skier but missed two targets and finished fourth to secure the World Cup individual title with 188 points from four races this season.

The women’s 15-kilometer individual race is Wednesday.