BMW Brand Ambassador Alessandro Zanardi has extended his collection of para-cycling medals with a bronze and a silver medal. At the weekend, the 2018 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships took place on Zanardi’s home soil, at Maniago in Italy. Zanardi – a ten-times world champion in para-cycling – competed in three races: the individual time-trial on Friday, the road race on Saturday and the team-relay on Sunday.
Huge crowds came to Maniago to cheer for the athletes who faced hot temperatures even in the evenings when the races were held.
In Friday’s individual time trial, Zanardi finished third behind Oscar Sanchez (USA) and Tim De Vries (NED) to secure the bronze medal
In Saturday’s road race, the Italian once again proved that giving up is not an option for him; he was again in contention for a podium position but on the final lap became a victim of a crash with several athletes involved.
One competitor crashed into the barrier on a tricky corner and bounced back onto the racing line, hitting another athlete. Zanardi could not avoid them and then was hit from behind. As a result, his hand-bike was severely damaged. Zanardi had a spare front wheel with him in the assistance car. He stopped to change the front wheel, however had no spare available for the damaged right rear wheel. He nevertheless continued the race with the damaged rear wheel and eventually reached the finish in eighth position.
The world championships concluded with the team-relay on Sunday evening
Zanardi competed in the Italian nation team with his fellow countrymen Paolo Cecchetto and Luca Mazzone. From start to finish, they had a thrilling battle with the USA team. And in the end, missed the gold medal only by a few centimetres, winning silver behind the US squad.
“It was a fantastic event”, said Zanardi. “I will take home with me the incredible enthusiasm of that huge crowd that really surprised me. I’ve been competing all my life in different sports disciplines but I never felt anything like this. For sure they applauded for all the athletes but they all had a very special shout for me and really pushed me to get a good result. This time, we won a silver medal in the team-relay and a bronze medal in the time-trial. To a certain extent I had some misfortune, especially in the road race but I have to admit that my opponents were really strong and much better prepared than I thought.”
Zanardi now travels to Vallelunga (ITA), where he will continue to prepare for his DTM guest start at Misano (ITA). This appearance is in three weeks’ time. He will spend two days of testing with his modified BMW M4 DTM this week.