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Former race driver Alex Zanardi pursues Paralympics
Relaxing while on vacation this week on a boat in the Tyrrhenian Sea off the Italian coast, Alex Zanardi was nonetheless eager to return to his training routine.

The two-time CART champion is 61 days from what he calls "the big one." That would be the start of his participation in London's Summer Paralympic Games, an event for athletes with physical disabilities that is, in Zanardi's view, a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to earn an international gold medal.

Zanardi turned to hand cycling a few years after the Champ Car crash at EuroSpeedway in Lausitz, Germany, that resulted in the amputation of both of his legs. He is as gifted on such a bike as he was in a race car, but he will turn 46 a month after the Paralympics.

Time figures to be running out to maintain this level of excellence.

"It will be a little bit of a sad moment (because) London was the horizon," said Zanardi, who has won the Venice and New York marathons. "For sure, this road to London has been an amazing experience that I will always treasure. It's been one of the best periods of my life."

Time trials for the hand bike event are Sept. 5 with the 64-kilometer road race -- approximately 40 miles -- on Sept. 7. Zanardi expects he will be part of the Italian team's relay Sept. 8, but it's the individual pursuit that drives him.

The chance to win is there.

"I'll probably be as nervous as I would be for the Indianapolis 500 knowing I have a car to win the race," he said. "But in this case it's not so much about having the right mechanical equipment. This is about training well and long, and I believe I have and am ready for this." More at Indy Star
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