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Cyclist Thürig wins second Swiss medal

Karin Thürig garnered the second-ever cycling medal for Swiss women (TSR)

Swiss cyclist Karin Thürig has finished third in the women’s road time trial at the Athens Olympics.

Her bronze medal came a day after fencer Marcel Fischer collected gold, bringing Switzerland’s medal tally to two for the 2004 Games.

"I'm so happy, I worked so hard to get here," said Thürig. "There were eight to ten riders who could have finished on the podium here."

The 32-year-old finished 44 seconds behind Dutch rider Leontien Zijlaard van Moorsel in the 24-kilometre race, and 19 seconds adrift of American Dede Demet-Barry.

The Swiss cyclist had the third-best intermediate time at the halfway point, 11 seconds off silver medal pace.

She lost another eight seconds to Demet-Barry on the return leg, but maintained her lead over the rider in fourth place, American Christine Thorburn.

Thürig used her strength to tame the hilly stretch of coastal road used for the competition.

"I had watched the Sydney Games on television and I knew then I wanted to go to the Olympics," said Thürig.

Olympic goal

The result confirms her decision to spend the past 18 months concentrating on the Olympic cycling races.

"I watched the Sydney Games on television, and I knew then I wanted to take part in the Olympics," she said.

The former two-time world duathlon champion is the second Swiss woman to collect a cycling medal, after Barbara Blatter’s silver in the cross country in Sydney in 2000.

Zijlaard van Moorsel bounced back after a fall in Saturday’s road race, adding a fourth gold medal to the three others earned at the 2000 Olympics.

The other Swiss rider in the time trial, Priska Doppmann, finished ninth, one minute and 29 seconds off the pace.

Thürig will now turn her attention to the track events, taking part in the qualifying round of the individual pursuit on Saturday.

swissinfo with agencies

Key facts

Karin Thürig:
Born July 4, 1972.
Profession: economist.
Track and road cycling specialist.
Previous results include two duathlon world championships, three Swiss duathlon titles, third in the 2002 road time trial at the world championships.

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