I'm not sure. I have been doing it this way since I installed Spring 1.0.2 and used the examples to get started. I had the same question why the path was being duplicated here but did not follow up on it since it worked and got me going. Right now, I am actually using XML <!ENTITY's so as to maintain the path in one place for the xxxx-servlet.xml file. So actualy, this is what I have:
<!ENTITY path.browse.search "/browse/search.htm">
<bean id="urlMapping" class="org.springframework.web.servlet.handler.SimpleUrlHandlerMapping">
<ref bean="localeChangeInterceptor" />
<bean id="pathMapping" class="java.util.HashMap">
This is use for my breadcrumbs.