Alex Zanardi won a second hand-cycling gold of Paralympics. The ex-Formula 1 and CART driver, who lost both legs following a horrific crash in 2001, won the road race with a sprint finish ahead of South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk and the Belgian Wim Decleir.
45-year-old Italian has already won another gold medal with winning the hand-cycling H4 Class individual time trial on Wednesday. On Friday, he won the H4 class hand-cycling road race on a 64-kilometer course at the Brands Hatch circuit.
In the longer-distance event on Friday, Zanardi led early on then became part of a thrilling eight-bike lead battle. He burst back to the front on the final lap, and beat South Africa’s Eric van Dyk across the line by one second to secure gold.
Zanardi said that: “To win this race in this way, in such a dramatic way and sprinting makes me really proud,” after winning the gold.
He added: “It shows that I am a complete cyclist, even if I have no legs. The race did not go as I expected. I thought that I could take off soon and that I would only need to stay calm, but at the fourth lap I tested my opponents and understood my tactic would not work, so I changed it completely and only tried to save, save and save. I managed my energies well. It’s been a tough race, I could have very well lost it.”
After winning his first medal with an individual time trial on Wednesday, Zanardi fuelled suggestions that his next challenge could be an Indianapolis 500 program in 2013.
“Alex Zanardi captures second gold of Paralympics” on the AutoWeek website