Alex Zanardi completed the Dolomites Marathon, a gruelling 138km ride, in under eight hours.
Zanardi, who won two gold medals aboard a handbike at the 2012 Paralympic Games in London, followed his London success by lining up along with almost 10,000 other competitors at La Villa in Italy for the start of the 28th Dolomites Marathon.
During the race, which sees riders have to scale no fewer than eight passes in the Dolomites, Zanardi climbed 4,190 metres metres on the longest of three possible routes, crossing the line in a time of 7 hours and 52 minutes.
“It’s been an amazing day. Not so much what I did, but what I was part of. To be part of such an event is a once in a lifetime experience, something you have to mark in your calendar,” said Zanardi. “It was very hard, but exactly what I had planned with my trainer Francesco. Last year I cycled the medium course, and, in spite of that, I was totally finished at the end. Now I am not super fresh, but I am relatively fresh compared to what I have done. It is beyond anything that has ever been done by a man with no legs. If you have the passion, a lot of things can be achieved.
“I want to thank my trainer,” continued the Italian, who has made his return to motorsport in 2014 driving a BMW Z4 GT3 in the Blancpain Sprint Series. “He is the one who very scientifically helped me to raise the level of my game and to use my resources which are certainly not unlimited. I also want to thank BMW for allowing me to skip the Zandvoort race and for giving me a fantastic car which I am looking forward to driving again in Slovakia. It was also great that our charity bimbingamba was so well exposed here. This is a project very dear to my heart.”
Zanardi now turns his attention to competing in the Blancpain Sprint Series, with the next round taking place over the weekend of 23/24 August at the Slovakia Ring near the Slovakian capital, Bratislava.