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Swiss mountain bikers take silver and bronze

Frischknecht's latest world championship medal was the tenth of his career


The final day of the world mountain bike championships in Vail brought Switzerland two medals with Thomas Frischknecht and Christoph Sauser winning silver and bronze respectively in the men's cross country race.

While Canadian favourite Roland Green was able to cruise towards the gold, Frischknecht needed to produce an incredible performance to take second place.

After taking an early lead, the 31-year-old Swiss rider managed to get a branch stuck in his gears and subsequently fell back to 20th place.

Frischknecht's earlier decision to embark upon an intensive preparation programme in the high altitude of Lake Tahoe then appeared to pay off though, as he pedalled his way back up the field.

On the last steep ascent, Frischknecht overtook Sauser to move into third place and within reach of a likely bronze medal.

Then with just 1,200 metres to go it became Frischknecht's turn to benefit from another rider's misfortune. Second placed Danish cyclist Michael Rasmussen suffered a flat tyre allowing both Frischknecht and Sauser to sail past him over the finish line and onto the podium.

The Swiss men's performances marked the first time in the world championship's 12-year history that two senior riders from Switzerland have stood on the same podium.

There was disappointment, though, in the women's category where Switzerland's biggest pre-tournament medal hope was unable to live up to expectations.

Olympic silver medallist Barbara Blatter picked up a cold in the days leading up to the race, and had breathing difficulties which confined her to the middle rankings during the opening stages.

The second half of the race saw Blatter stage something of a fightback, but only enough to claw her way up to fourth place, 34 seconds off the bronze.

The women's gold went to surprise American winner Alison Dunlop who finished this year's World Cup season in sixth place overall.

swissinfo with agencies

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