Alex Zanardi newsletter 2009-10-26

THE "CYCLIST" IS MAKING PROGRESS! Dear Friends, Today it has been a great day for the "cyclist" in me! As I mentioned, I took part in the Venice Marathon, well, actually, I won it! This is my first victory since I discovered the handbike and...


Dear Friends,

Today it has been a great day for the "cyclist" in me!

As I mentioned, I took part in the Venice Marathon, well, actually, I won it! This is my first victory since I discovered the handbike and the emotions I felt were similar to those I experienced the day I won my first karting race. I remember that I went around Castelmaggiore with the cup in my hand and I proudly explained my deed to everyone that asked why that was.

Today I will not be that wordy with you, nevertheless, I hope you do not mind me saying that I am extremely proud of the victory I achieved. From one side this is because together with the friends of the Venice Marathon we made good things for charities that "taste good" quite a lot, both for "Bimbingamba" and for "Run for Water" (I remind you that in a few days I will publish the details for the charity auction of the racing suit I used during the race, whose collected money will go to the project supported by the Venice Marathon).

From the other side, a race that traditionally is not that fast for handbike, this year has been really very fast. In 1h 13' and 56'' I finished the same race that has been won in the past with times close to 1 hour and half. We actually reached the halfway point in less than 34' at the good average speed of 39 km/h!

After that, bridges, narrow roads, tight inversions at S. Giuliano park (where I was also long in a corner...) and incredible jumps we made on the wooden ramps "killed" our average speed. It was foreseeable anyway: this is the reason why this race is considered very slow for handbikes and I am therefore extremely proud of my time.

The two Mauro, respectively Cattai and Cratassa, made my life hard, but they also spurred me and pulled me on the straights from Stra up to Mestre. Then just Cattai and myself were left and it has been a good fight till the end.

I was afraid about the narrow passage below the columns of the "Palazzo della Dogana", before the boats bridge that allowed us to cross the Canal Grande. The steering radius of my "Evro" is very limited and it could have been critical in that point: in fact, I managed to get through just for a few millimeters and with a good push with the shoulder on a column.

For this reason, once passed by the liberty bridge that takes from the mainland to Venice, I decided to sprint at the harbour, the last bit whereby one could have gone flat out. In the small descent after the turn I gave everything going close to 52 km/h, then I kept the pace for 500-600 meters at the same speed on the flat land with the intention to widen a bit more the gap I inflicted to the good Cattai. Unfortunately the shake on the tracks of the harbour train made my chain disengaging which vanished my getaway.

While fixing the things I lost the headway and with a mixture of grit and desperation I managed to get the necessary speed to keep the necessary speed to be at the lead at the first of fourteen bridges. At that point overtaking would have been difficult since the circuit becomes very narrow. Nevertheless, the narrow passage between the dreadful columns could still rip me off, or the chain could again have disengaged in a shake...

Everything went fine, and I managed to prepare the right tension on the transmission before every jump and I tamed shakes in this way, while on uphills of bridges my position, perhaps less aerodynamic than that of my direct opponents but certainly more appropriate to produce peaks of higher power, helped me to increase the gap from my challenger. Then, close to the end Cattai also had some problems with the shifting mechanism and this made my life easier.

Apart from the sportive result, running this marathon has been really exciting. Darting on the Brenta's banks close to a lot of historic beauties and closing the race in the nicest city in the world has been a unique experience, perhaps in some aspects even more suggestive than the one done in New York.

I am extremely happy, if someone did not realize it yet... tomorrow I will close the bag for Japan because on Tuesday I will set off to Okayama: it would be nice to keep this positive trend, perhaps with a good podium... I do not dare asking too much, I would be happy with a few little points!

While asking your usual good luck wishes for the forthcoming race I take the chance to thank everyone that with splendid kindness sent me their birthday wishes on the back and forth section of the website.

Thanks a lot, I love you!



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Series WTCC
Drivers Alex Zanardi