Alessandro Zanardi sealed Italy's second successive mixed team relay world title ©Getty Images

Italy successfully defended their mixed team relay title on day one of the International Cycling Union (UCI) Para-cycling Road World Championships in Nottwil, Switzerland.

The Italian trio of Vittorio Podesta, Luca Mazzone and Alessandro Zanardi completed the 17.4 kilometres course with a time of 31min 13sec, while the United States and hosts Switzerland came second and third respectively in a repeat of the equivalent podium at last year’s World Championships in the American city of Greenville.

In wet conditions, America's William Lachenauer, William Groulx and Oscar Sanchez clocked a time of 32:24 with Switzerland’s Jean-Marc Berset, Tobias Fankhauser and Heinz Frei a mere 21 seconds behind them.

"I thought that after 10 years of competing and participation at the World Championships that I would be less nervous, but that’s not the case," said Sanchez.

"We lost some time with a wrong turn, but I’m still happy; not satisfied, but happy."

The mixed team relay podium was ordered the same as that in the American city of Greenville last year
The mixed team relay podium was ordered the same as that in the American city of Greenville last year ©UCI

The US found themselves in eighth place after the first lap and although Sanchez was consistently quick in the final two laps, he was unable to fend off H5 world time trial champion Zanardi, who sealed Italy’s success.

Of the 10 teams that queued up at the starting line only Austria and China failed to finish. 

The World Championships's time trial events are set to take place tomorrow and Friday (July 31), followed by the road races on Saturday (August 1) and Sunday (August 2).

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