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GP Week : Issue 166
F1 >>> NEWS There are sporting heroes, and then there’s Alex Zanardi. Following the loss of both legs in a 2001 CART crash at the Lausitzring, Zanardi carried on fighting. After serious rehabilitation, the Italian was back behind the wheel of a specially adapted race car by 2003, when he competed in Monza. The following year saw him take on the European Touring Car Championship, and in 2005 Zanardi began a five-year WTCC career. After his retirement from the World Touring Car Championship in 2009, Zanardi turned his attention to hand cycling, a sport he had first begun to practice in 2007. Having declared his intention to compete for Italy in the 2012 Paralympics, Zanardi entered the 2009 Para-Cycling Road World Championships and won his class in the Venice Marathon that year. Never one to shy away from achieving a stated goal, Zanardi not only gained a place on the Italian hand cycling team in the 2012 Paralympics, but dominated the category from start to finish, claiming gold medals in both the men’s road time trial event and the individual time trial, before collecting a silver medal for his part in the mixed relay race. “Once again, I am speechless,” Zanardi said after collecting the third of his Paralympics medals. “When you achieve something on your own, it is great, but winning as a team is even better! Obviously, we raced in different ways, because we are athletes in different categories mixed in a random way, but I think this is the spice of the event. Every one of us took every ounce of power from our muscles and, for us, [the result] is spectacular.” The typically good-humoured Italian also joked about a return to motor- racing, following a promise made by his friend Jimmy Vasser. “He said: ‘If you win gold, I’m going to put you in a car for the Indy 500’,” Zanardi explained. “So I’m going to call him back tonight and say: ‘Jimmy, here I am. I’ve got the gold medal. How about the car?’” ZANARDI GOES FOR GOLD, AND GOLD, AND SILVER 9 GPWEEK.com // PARTNERS: