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Silver medal for BMW Brand Ambassador Alessandro Zanardi in thrilling para-cycling road race.

The second competition for BMW Brand Ambassador Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) at the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, turned out to be a real thriller. The decider of the 60.7 kilometre road race came in an exciting sprint to the finish. In the end, Zanardi claimed second place and the silver medal – crossing the line wheel to wheel with the winner Tim de Vries (NED).

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Pietermaritzburg. The second competition for BMW Brand Ambassador Alessandro Zanardi (ITA) at the 2017 UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships in Pietermaritzburg, South Africa, turned out to be a real thriller. The decider of the 60.7 kilometre road race came in an exciting sprint to the finish. In the end, Zanardi claimed second place and the silver medal – crossing the line wheel to wheel with the winner, and new world champion, Tim de Vries (NED). It was so close that the gap was indicated as “00.00 seconds” in the final classification.

 

After winning his ninth para-cycling world title in the time trial on Thursday, Zanardi tackled the MH5 category (men’s handcycle) road race on Saturday. The athletes took on ten laps of a 6.07 kilometre circuit through the streets of Pietermaritzburg. The nine-time world champion and de Vries adopted a clever strategy, riding with a group of several athletes for most of the distance and then attacking at the end of the final lap. Before the final corner, Zanardi was lying in third position while de Vries was fourth. With the finish line in sight, the top four started a nail-biting final sprint for the world title. In the end, de Vries crossed the line only centimetres ahead of second placed Zanardi. The overall race time was 1:50:11 hours.

 
“After all, to finish second is a great result. I think we put on a great show and you have to take it, it is as simple as it is. So I am very happy,” said Zanardi. “I knew I was very strong in the last corner and if I could enter it in third place, leaving a little gap in front of me, then I could go through the corner really fast and easily catch the two guys in front and pull away a bit from Tim de Vries, who I knew was my strongest opponent. Everything went exactly as I planned until the two guys in front backed out. At that point I was stuck behind and it was far too early to go into the final sprint. That allowed Tim to come back to us very easily and then at that point he was in the best position because when I started my sprint, he was right behind me and then he got me in the very, very last metres.”

 

“But it was a very good race,” Zanardi continued. “I think overall I was at least as strong as Tim and sometimes it works for you and sometimes it works for others. But to come home with a silver medal, after such an interesting battle, is a good result. Tim won a great title today and hats off to him, but next time I will make his life as hard as I can again.”


Tomorrow, Sunday (3rd September), Zanardi will compete in his third and final competition of this year’s UCI Para-cycling Road World Championships, the team relay, of which he and the Italian national team are the reigning world champions.

 

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