Paralympics 2012

Ex F1 driver Zanardi wins gold

2012-09-05 18:15
Alessandro Zanardi (AP)

Brands Hatch - Former Formula One driver Alessandro Zanardi on Wednesday won again at a motor racing circuit by taking Paralympic gold in the men's individual H4 (hand-cycle) time-trial.

The 45-year-old Italian's time of 24min 50.22sec over the 16km course was good enough to clinch victory from Norbert Mosandl of Germany, who finished 27sec behind, and US rider Oscar Sanchez, who was 45sec back.

Zanardi, a former F1 pilot for Minardi and Lotus who also drove in Indy and touring car races, was critically injured and had to have both legs amputated after a horror smash in 2001.

He battled back into sport, even competing in a touring car race at Brands Hatch in a specially-adapted car with hand controls before turning his attention to hand-cycling. Last year, he won the category at the New York Marathon.

His average speed on Wednesday - 38.652km per hour - was considerably less than his previous best at the fabled circuit in the county of Kent, southeast England.

But it was one of the highlights of a day that saw Britain's Sarah Storey clinch her third gold medal of the Games, taking the Paralympic women's individual C5 time-trial title after double success on the track.

The 34-year-old rider won the C5 individual 3km pursuit in the Velodrome last week to open the host nation's gold account then followed up with victory in the C4/5 500m time-trial.

But she said the hard work she has put in for the road events has paid off, as she again pushed Poland's Anna Harkowska into silver, just as she did on the track.

"I spent so much time on the road this year. The road is where all my preparation has been done, so I needed to nail this one," she told reporters.

Storey's victory came after Olympic success for Britain's cyclists, notably for the country's first Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins, who took the men's time-trial on the streets around Hampton Court palace, west of London.

"I just wanted to make sure I added my name to that list of success. I just can't believe it," she added after the 16km race against the clock.

The win boosted her overall Paralympic gold medal collection to 10. Storey, who was born without a functioning left hand, won five at swimming before switching to cycling before Beijing in 2008.

In the equivalent men's race, Ukraine's Yegor Dementyev took gold in a confidence booster for Thursday's C4/5 individual road race, while Czech rider Jiri Jezek took revenge over Romania's Carol-Eduard Novak in the C4 time-trial.

Novak had beaten defending champion Jezek in the C4 individual pursuit over 4km on the track.

Jezek, who has now won four golds in four Games, said he was stunned and had expected the Romanian to win.

In the men's individual C3 time-trial, David Nicholas added to Australia's cycling medal tally, while Germany's Tobias Graf and Michael Teuber struck gold in C2 and C1 class. Graf had already picked up a silver and bronze on the track.

In the women's races, Megan Fisher of the United States saw off a challenge from Australia's track gold medallist Susan Powell in the C4 time-trial, while compatriot Allison Jones took the C1-2-3 equivalent.

Jones said the win more than made up for her experience in Beijing, where she was denied the gold because of time adjustments based on cyclists' impairments in the mixed classification race.

In the men's individual time-trial for blind and visually impaired riders, Spain's Christian Venge, with pilot David Llaurado Caldero took gold, while Kathrin Goeken and Kim Van Dijk took the women's equivalent.

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