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Spanish Olympic Cyclist Impressed by Hospitality in Beijing
    2008-09-19 22:38:20     Xinhua
Spanish cyclist Joan Llaneras, who won two medals at the Beijing Olympics, said Friday that he was impressed by the hospitality of the Chinese people in Beijing.

The 39-year-old brought his magnificent career to a perfect end by winning a gold in the Points race and a silver in the Madison on the indoor cycle track in Beijing.

Speaking to Xinhua from his home in Barcelona, Llaneras highlighted the hospitality of the Chinese people during the Games.

"Everyone was very friendly and welcoming and also very open, although (there) was a slight problem with language outside of the Olympic Village, because so few people spoke Spanish or even English," he said.

Llaneras also commented on the atmosphere at the Velodrome, where the indoor cycling took place.

"The Western public were really involved in the races and cheered on the riders from their countries. The Chinese spectators (in track cycling) were polite and cheered, but maybe didn't understand some of what was happening," he told Xinhua.

He noted that cycling is, indeed, not a popular sport in China

Llaneras said the much talked about question of air pollution had not been a problem.

"There was a big shower every two or three days and that helped to clear the air...We had to go 30 km every day from the Olympic Village to the track and it was never a problem," said the Spaniard.

Llaneras said although he had to follow a strict diet during the competition, he had eaten the local cuisine as soon as the racing had finished.

"I tried Chinese food after all of the events were over. Obviously if you are competing, you have to watch your diet very closely. But I stayed on (in China) for five days after I had finished and I tried it then. It was an experience," he said.

The Spanish rider regretted that it had been hard for genuine fans to buy tickets in the cycling events, because many had fallen into the hands of touts.

"The problem is that there was a lot of ticket touting going on at some events and it was hard to get in. I had a group of 15 friends, who came out to support me, who had to buy tickets from touts."

"They had tried every possible way to get tickets before coming out: from the internet to the Spanish Olympic Committee. But they couldn't and had to buy them outside of the event," he said.


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What do you think will impress foreign visitors the most during the Beijing Olympics?
The friendliness of the Beijing people
The Water Cube and other Olympic venues
The Forbidden City
The Great Wall
Beijing "siheyuan" (Chinese traditional courtyard houses)
Peking Opera
Wangfujing Street
Beijing Roast Duck