2010 MTB Worlds: Swiss Earn First Gold in XC Team Relay

VIDEO: The 20th edition of the UCI Mountain Bike and Trials World Championships at Mont Sainte Anne, Canada, started Wednesday with the team relay. Switzerland wins gold; U.S. finishes in ninth.

Five days of competition kicked off Wednesday at the mountain bike World championships in Mont Saint Anne, Canada.

The first gold medal was awarded in the cross-country relay, which was won by Switzerland. The XC relay saw 17 countries represented. Each team is made up of an elite male and femail, one U23 male and one male junior rider with each racing one lap.

The swiss team of Thomas Litscher (U23), Roger Walder (Jr), Katrin Leumann and Ralph Naef topped second-place Germany by 18 seconds. The Germans were anchored by elite riders Manuel Fumic and Sabine Spitz.

Taking the bronze medal was the Czech Republic, which finished 41 seconds off Switzerland. The Czechs were lead by Luna Pro Team rider Katerina Nash and the winner of last week’s World Cup at Windham, New York, Jaroslav Kulhavy.

The American team of Todd Wells, elite; Katie Compton, elite; Robbie Squire, U23; and Seth Kemp, Jr finished in ninth place behind Canada, which consisted of Max Plaxton, elite; Mical Dyck, elite; Francis Morin, U23; and Antoine Caron, Jr.

The elite men’s and women’s cross-country races are set for Saturday.