The 53-year-old Ex-Formula One driver and four-time Paralympic gold medalist Alex Zanardi is in an artificial coma after a cycling race crash. He lost control of his handbike machine while competing in the 'Obiettivo tricolore' relay race in Tuscany, Italy on Friday.
Zanardi suffered severe head injuries after he crossed the white line into the path of an oncoming truck, which was unable to avoid him.The Italian was airlifted to the Santa Maria alle Scott hospital in Siena where he underwent three hours of emergency neurological surgery for facial head injuries. "He is incubated and supported by artificial ventilation while the neurological picture remains serious," read the medical bulletin. "Come on Alex # Zanardi, don't give up. All of Italy is fighting with you," Italian prime minister Giusseppe Conte wrote on Twitter.
Zanardi had determination when he adapted to his prosthetic legs and returned to compete in the European Touring Car Championship in 2003, driving for BMW. But he was winning multiple medals at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics and world championships, on a handbike. Zanardi has also competed in grueling Ironman triathlon races, setting a new world best for a Paralympic athlete.