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Fourth Olympic bronze for Switzerland

(Keystone)

Switzerland's Nino Schurter has won bronze in the Beijing Olympics men's mountain bike race.

The 22-year-old finished seconds ahead of fellow Swiss Christoph Sauser in the eight-lap race at Laoshan on Saturday.

French competitors Julien Absalon and Jean-Christophe Peraud took the gold and silver.

Four-time world champion Absalon took the lead from the second lap of the difficult course which had been built on rough terrain on a hill in west Beijing.

Absalon completed the course in one hour, 55 minutes, 59 seconds, becoming the first man to earn two Olympic mountain biking gold titles.

Peraud finished just over one minute behind Absalon, and Schurter a close one minute and 53 seconds later.

Schurter beat Sauser - the 2000 Olympic bronze medallist - to the finish line by two seconds.

"I realized that I was better going uphill than he was," Schurter said afterwards.

"I was able to hold him off on the straights, and the last 15 seconds I definitely had the better of him.

"I really wanted a medal and I am more than happy."

He added that he would do everything possible to become the favourite to win gold in the 2012 Games in London.

Florian Vogel, the third Swiss competing, dropped out in the fifth lap after suffering from dehydration. He was taken to hospital for checks.

The event was the final cycling competition of the Beijing Games.

Schurter's win was the fourth bronze medal for Switzerland during the Games.

Schurter, who lives in Chur, trains under Nicolas Siegenthaler.

swissinfo with agencies

SWISS MEDALS

As of August 23, Switzerland has won six medals:

Gold: Roger Federer and Stanislas Wawrinka, Tennis, Men's Doubles

Gold: Fabian Cancellara, Cycling, Men's Individual Time Trial

Bronze: Fabian Cancellara, Cycling, Men's Road Race

Bronze: Karin Thürig, Cycling, Women's Individual Time Trial

Bronze: Sergei Aschwanden, Judo, Men's Middleweight (81-90 kg)

Bronze: Nino Schurter, Men's Mountain Bike Race

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