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Silver start for Swiss cyclists in Spain

Barbara Blatter also took silver at last month's Swiss Cup


Swiss cyclists have risen to the challenge of performing at high altitude, picking up the silver medal in the relay event at the world mountain bike championships in Spain.

The Swiss riders followed the Spanish team over the finishing line in the Sierra Madre mountain range. Italy picked up the bronze medal.

In an exciting race, the Swiss pushed through the field - having been fourth after Christoph Sauser's starting lap. The junior rider, Florian Vogel then took the team into third place. That position was maintained by Barbara Blatter before Silvio Bundi made the final surge to cross the line in second place.

It is Switzerland's first world championship medal in four years and represents an important boost to the team just weeks before the start of the Olympic Games in Sydney. Switzerland is using the championships to make final Olympic selection decisions.

The Sierra Madre, which may be familiar to some as the setting for numerous spaghetti westerns, is 2100 metres above sea level. That poses an additional challenge to cyclists, who must adapt to the low oxygen levels in order to compete.

swissinfo with agencies

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