Dorothea Wierer of Italy with the globe of the total score and mass start score during the Women 10 km Pursuit Competition at the BMW IBU World Cup Biathlon Kontiolahti at on March 14, 2020 in Kontiolahti, Finland
However, those hopes were dashed as her shooting let her down, missing six of her first 10 shots to open the door for Wierer.
The Italian missed five of her own but in general shot cleaner and finished just over a second behind her rival.
And while Eckhoff finished ahead it was not by enough of a margin which meant that Wierer retains the Crystal Globe.
“I can’t realise it still you know, today I was sure that I couldn’t do it because I was really behind and I had not such a good shooting today and I have yet to realise but I think it’s just amazing." Wierer, who became the first women to retain a Crystal Globe since the legendary Magdalena Forsberg in 2002, said afterwards.
“Yesterday it was the worst race for me with three mistakes and I wasn’t sure, I would be second but my coaches told me to just fight and give everything because it’s the last race of the season. I gave it all because I was really tired in the head and the body but it’s really, really great for me and my team.
“It’s amazing, last summer I didn’t think it would be a season like this and for sure I need a lot of time to realise everything because it was really intense, a lot of pressure and it was really hard for my mind and body so it’s just great."
Highlights: Wierer takes title as Simon wins final race of the season
Julia Simon, 23, made it a double delight for France as she followed Martin Fourcade’s earlier victory in his final race with her first individual victory.
"I don’t realise it just yet, it’s been totally crazy!" Said an excited Simon after.
"I don’t remember my last shooting I just saw that all the targets were clean and it was amazing, I don’t know what to say!
"Yes of course, he’s [Fourcade] amazing. He’s a very great guy and he gave everything he had to the sport and to French biathlon and right now it’s just incredible to do my first win just after his last win. Yeah that was crazy it was just amazing."
Selina Gasparin and Lisa Vittozzi rounded off the podium while legendary Finn Kaisa Makarainen came in fourth, and her tears at the finish line seemed to suggest that it would be her last.
"I’m happy I had a clean last shooting!" Joked Makarainen before she became more emotional.
'We cannot choose all the steps in our life' - Makarainen on retiring
"I didn’t expect that it would happen here in my home stadium but we cannot choose all the steps in our life and finally I’m happy that it happened here."
When asked what she would miss the most she replied "My friends, all these girls who compete here with me, it’s a special biathlon family and I’m sure I will miss them the most. It’s hard to pick any one special memory but for sure all the globes that I have won I will respect them maybe more after the career than what I did during it."
One of the most impressive performances of the day came from Sweden’s Johanna Skottheim as she powered her way up from 40th at the start all the way to seventh.