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Page last updated at 17:37 GMT, Thursday, 10 September 2009 18:37 UK

Zanardi aims for Paralympic place

Alex Zanardi
Zanardi was fitted with prosthetic limbs after the high-speed crash

Former Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi is targeting a place on the Italian cycling team at the 2012 Paralympics.

The 42-year-old had both legs amputated after a crash while racing in the Champ Car series in Germany in 2001.

He returned to motorsport two years later and competed this year in the World Touring Car Championship but he has also taken up handcycling.

He was 15th in Thursday's individual time trial at the Para-Cycling Road World Championships in Italy.

Zanardi's time of 33 minutes, 55.19 seconds over the 19.4km course was 4.45 behind the clear winner Oz Sanchez from the USA, who won gold in Beijing, but he finished just one place below his Italian compatriot Giovanni Achenza.

Most handcycles resemble tricycles and are propelled by athletes using their upper body rather than their legs.

The former Jordan, Minardi, Lotus and Williams driver was fourth on his handcycling debut in the 2007 New York Marathon after just four weeks of training and harbours hopes of competing in London in 2012.

Before Thursday's race he told his official website: "My honest objective is to be at the level of the best Italian bikers and to finish in the top half of the classification, waiting for a dream that could come true in London in 2012."

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see also
Zanardi makes happy return to F1
25 Nov 06 |  Formula 1
Zanardi seals fairytale victory
28 Aug 05 |  Motorsport
Zanardi to return to F1 cockpit
30 Oct 06 |  Formula 1
Motorsport shaken by Zanardi crash
17 Sep 01 |  Motorsport
Disability Sport on the BBC
02 Nov 09 |  Disability Sport

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