6 Sep 2012

Zanardi wins hand cycling gold

6:07 am on 6 September 2012

The former Formula One driver Alessandro Zanardi has claimed victory at the British track where first place always eluded him in motor sport, winning gold in the Paralympic hand-cycling race at Brands Hatch.

Using a hand-powered tricycle, the 45-year-old Italian, who lost both his legs in a near-fatal competition car crash in Germany 11 years ago, won gold in the H4-class at his first Games.

The Paralympic road cycling events are being held at Brands Hatch, a one-time international motorsport venue southwest of London, with which Zanardi is familiar from his car racing days - though this is his first victory there.

Zanardi says he will never dump hand cycling as long as he has an ounce of power in his arms, dismissing claims that at age 45 he may only compete in one Paralympic Games.

And he says he's still up for a future in motorsport. Seven years after losing his legs above the knees, Zanardi returned to the track in a specially-modified car to help an Italian-Spanish team finish third in the World Touring Car Championship.