- Associated Press - Friday, October 31, 2014

MEXICO CITY (AP) - Seven cyclists and an assistant who were kidnapped while on a training ride in the mountainous outskirts of the Mexican capital were released hours later after a ransom was paid, authorities said Friday.

The five men and three women were back with their families after a Federal Police unit negotiated with the captors, anti-kidnapping czar Renato Sales told Radio Formula.

The victims were grabbed Thursday morning on a road near Ajusco, a volcanic mountain to the south of Mexico City, and taken away in two vans. Among those kidnapped were noted triathletes Fabiola Corona and Jorge Fuentes and coach Carlos Probert.

The Ajusco park is a popular place for recreation and for athletes to train at altitude, though Sales noted there have been other abductions there as well as sexual assaults.

He and President Enrique Pena Nieto said police would pursue the kidnappers.

“Fortunately the ransom was achieved. … We are going to go after the criminals, but the most important thing was to secure the young people’s safety and that was achieved,” Pena Nieto said.

The kidnapping comes at a sensitive time for the government, which is under the spotlight over the disappearance of 43 teachers college students over a month ago in a southern city.

Investigators say the students were grabbed by municipal police in Guerrero state and handed over to a drug gang.

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