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2018 Winter Olympics race too close to call, says Bavarian PM

By Jason Humphries

DURBAN, South Africa (Reuters) - The race to host the 2018 Winter Olympics is too close to call, Bavaria's prime minister Horst Seehofer said on Tuesday.

Seehofer is in Durban to support Munich's bid with the International Olympic Committee (IOC) due to announce the 2018 Winter Games host on Wednesday.

Munich is considered to be running a close second to Pyeongchang, South Korea with Annecy, France regarded as the rank outsider but Seehofer, who has more than 30 years experience as a politician, said that it was too early to predict a winner.

"Even as an experienced politician I wouldn't dare make a prediction," Seehofer told a news conference.

"I haven't even met anyone who would be prepared to bet on the result," he added.

However, Seehofer said that he was positive that Munich's bid would be strong enough to secure the city its second Olympics after it hosted the 1972 Summer Games.

"We are well prepared which makes me confident. The three bidding cities have all been respectful of each other and have all submitted strong bids.

Munich will be the first of the three bidding cities to deliver its presentation on Wednesday.

"The presentation is going to be important. The German federal president, Christian Wulff, is here which shows that our bid is a German concern not just a Bavarian one. We have a number of current and former athletes, including Katarina Witt who is the chair of the Munich 2018 bid committee and we also have Franz Beckenbauer, the man who brought the 2006 (football) World Cup to Germany," Seehofer said.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)