Ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi claims World Para-Cycling title

By Nick HopeBBC Paralympic sports reporter
Alex Zanardi
Alex Zanardi

Double Paralympic champion and ex-Formula 1 driver Alex Zanardi claimed his maiden Para-cycling world title with time trial victory in Canada.

The 46-year-old Italian, who lost both legs in a 2001 crash, won the H4 class after covering the 17.3km course in 27 minutes and 15 seconds.

Britain's Lora Turnham, who is visually impaired, won gold in the women's blind tandem event with pilot Corrine Hall.

The pair beat New Zealanders Phillipa Gray and Laura Fairweather.

Turnham and Trott finished the 25.9km course in 39m 19s.

"Well that's it, World Champion!" Zanardi said on Twitter.external-link "I know it won't last, but now I'm happy."

Zanardi claimed many victories in junior motorsport and won two CART World Series titles, but could not repeat that success during two spells in Formula 1.

In 2007, six years after the crash which cost him both legs, he took up hand-cycling and finished fourth at the New York Marathon weeks later.

He won a silver medal at the 2011 Para-cycling time-trial World Championships in Denmark before his double gold at the London 2012 Olympics.

Following Zanardi's latest victory, three-time Indy 500 winner Dario Franchitti said on Twitter: "Congratulations Zanardi - you continue to amaze!"

Zanardi competes in the road race on Saturday.

In the MT2 tricycle class, Britain's David Stone took silver, 10 seconds behind Germany's Hans-Peter Durst.