Alex Zanardi newsletter 2010-06-03

SOCCMEL, WHAT A SPRINT! Hi Friends, Last Saturday and Sunday I took part in the race valid for the Para Cycling European Road Cup held at Castel S. Giovanni and Piacenza. In the first town we run the line race, or the group race if you ...


Hi Friends,

Last Saturday and Sunday I took part in the race valid for the Para Cycling European Road Cup held at Castel S. Giovanni and Piacenza.

In the first town we run the line race, or the group race if you like, while in Piacenza, on Sunday, on a flat and fast track we fought for the victory in the time trial race.

I knew that in my category, the H 4, we would have been a few, just around ten at the start. Anyway, the presence of Vicente Arzo, very strong Spaniard who won the silver medal in Beijing in the latest paralympic games, would have given me once more the real measure of my progress.

The street circuit of Castel S. Giovanni, 2km and half long, would have been to be faced fifteen times before getting on the straight that would have taken us to finish the race in the middle of the town.

The track, never flat nor boring, would have involved us with continuous sprints, turns done at the limit and yet some more accelerations that would have made the selection among us.

My objective, I admit, was to stay with Vicente until the end. I mean, not to let him pull away, keeping his wheel and evaluating at the moment of the final sprint how much I still have to grow compared to who usually fights in the most important sprints.

Well, things went this way... or even better!

At the second lap Arzo, the Swiss Bruno Huber and myself pulled away from the group. With a little bit of sportive arrogance I understood that if we would have arrived together at the final sprint, the victory would have been contested by myself and Vicente.

Since I have a good friendship with him and due to the fact that I am looking for genuine comparisons, I proposed him a sprint without particular tactics: "what about exiting lined up from the last corner and then go, who has more strength will win?".

"Bueno!" answered my Spanish friend winking and in the short descent taking us to the last corner from which we would have played for the victory, I found myself thinking about how many meters he would have given me before crossing the finish line.

I was certain he would have won, it is quite some time that I watch him racing and he has always been an almost uncatchable reference point for me. Nevertheless, I decided to give all and the most difficult test was there, in just a few meters a sprint of a little more than three-hundred meters slightly up-hill would have started and I could have understood the value of all the sweat I poured since today on my PZ1.

The pebble surfacing typical of the center of our towns welcomed us when we exited the last turn, a reciprocal look and a smile, then... go!

We both sprinted forward producing an acceleration that only the adrenaline of the race gives you and from there faster and faster we went.

Amazingly, I was keeping his pace, well...

At first he was a meter in front, then I recover, I keep there and I overtake him for half a wheel. Then he recovers but only because while changing gear my chain jumped a bit before engaging and in fact, as soon as I get to the "maximum torque" I get back in front for a few centimeters.

We are nearly there, this is why I decide not to change gear again fearing that this could have cost me the race, which at that point, I struggle to believe this, could have been won by me. I increase the rhythm but Vicente is recovering from that tiny-winy margin I gave him.

I increase again and again fishing for strength and speed from a spring that I don't know where it is inside of me, but my Spanish friend does not give up.

On the finish line, my arms look like two fans, my trip computer will tell me that we past abundantly the 50km/h on the finish line despite the loose and slightly ascending surface. I give a final and fundamental shot from my kidneys, losing a bit the equilibrium and risking to fall... our struggle finishes.

Still confused, I see again in my mind the sprint and I am puzzled about what happened, I believe I won. The photo-finish will prove me right even if my eyes saw that gap much bigger...

Cool! The pictures they shot us are worth an entire career and I am just at the beginning of my dream.

What a shame that the following day Vicente woke me up with a nasty pinch in the time trial race giving me more than a minute!

I still have a lot of work to do and my progressing with the usual heat of the enthusiasm makes me do some steps backwards, thing that I believed happened on Sunday when I raced on a different pushing position.

Nevertheless, I am getting there and I already had some glory moments. This gives me hope, stimulates me and increases my hunger.

...And now, let's go on with the rest!


-source: alex zanardi

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Series Formula 1 , IndyCar , WTCC
Drivers Alex Zanardi