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Sat Apr 19 13:57:33 SAST 2014

Brands Hatch win for ex-GP driver

unknown | 06 September, 2012 06:450 Comments
2012 London Paralympics - Day 7 - Cycling - Road
Alessandro Zanardi of Italy celebrates winning the Men's Individual H4 Time Trial on day 7 of the London 2012 Paralympic Games at Brands Hatch on September 5, 2012 in Longfield, England
Image by: Hannah Johnston / Getty Images

FORMER Formula One driver Alessandro Zanardi yesterday 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 him, and US rider Oscar Sanchez, who was 45sec back.

South African Ernst van Dyk finished in fifth.

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 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 yesterday - 38.6km/h - was considerably less than his previous best at the fabled Brands Hatch circuit in 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 medal 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 said.

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. - Sapa-AFP

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