24 October 1966
- LATEST TRIUMPHS:
- 2015 Road World Championships – Gold: road race, time trial
- 2014 Road World Championships – Gold: time trial; Silver: road race
- 2013 Road World Championships – Gold: road race, time trial
- London 2012 Paralympic Games – Gold: Individual road race H4, individual time trial H4; Silver: mixed team relay H1-4
- 2011 Road World Championships – Silver: Individual time trial H4
Since winning silver in the time trial H4 at the 2011 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships and the 2011 New York Marathon, Zanardi has established himself as one of the world’s best and most consistent handcyclists.
At London 2012, the Italian created one of the images of the Games by lifting his handcycle above his head at the Brands Hatch race circuit after he had captured Paralympic gold in the individual time trial H4. He went on to win gold in the individual road race H4 and silver in the mixed relay team H1-4. His performances in London won him the Best Male award at the 2013 Paralympic Sport and Media Awards.
His form continued in 2013 winning world titles in both the road race and time trial events at the UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Baie Comeau, Canada. He also won five World Cup events in 2013.
In 2014 he retained his road time trial world title in Greenville, USA, and took three UCI World Cup wins. He could only manage world silver in the road race behind South Africa’s Ernst van Dyk.
Despite the growing rivalry with van Dyk and the Netherlands’ Tim de Vries, Zanardi was again double world champion in 2015 taking gold in both the time trial and road race events in Nottwil, Switzerland, On home soil at the UCI World Cup in Maniago he also won time trial gold and road race silver.
As a racing driver, Zanardi won Championship Auto Racing Teams (CART) titles in 1997 and 1998 before signing a three-year contract as a Formula 1 driver.
In 2001 he was involved in a serious 200mph crash in the American Memorial 500 Cart event in Germany, an accident that destroyed his vehicle and saw him lose both his legs.
Impressively, Zanardi returned to car racing less than two years after the accident, competing for BMW Team Italy-Spain in the FIA World Touring Car Championship from 2003-2009. His vehicle possessed a custom brake pedal that worked in concert with Zanardi’s prosthetic leg. He earned four wins during his time on the tour.
It was following his retirement from car racing, Zanardi transitioned to handcycling.