Alex Zanardi undergoes second surgery after handcycling accident

BARCELONA SPAIN SEPTEMBER 30 Former Formula One driver and paracyclist Alex Zanardi poses after finishing IRONMAN Barcelona on September 30 2017 in Calella Barcelona province Spain Photo by Alex CaparrosGetty Images for IRONMAN
Zanardi after winning Ironman Barcelona in 2017 (Image credit: Getty Images Sport)

Paracyclist Alex Zanardi remains in hospital in an induced coma on Tuesday after a CT scan on Monday showed that a second neurosurgery would be necessary. The surgery lasted two and a half hours, and Zanardi was returned to the intensive care unit where he remains sedated and intubated.

According to a press release issued by the Siena University Hospital, Zanardi remains stable from the cardio-respiratory and metabolic point of view, while the neurological point of view presents a more severe situation.

"The intervention represents a step that had been hypothesised by the team," said health director Roberto Gusinu. "Our professionals will evaluate the situation day by day."

Zanardi's clinical conditions remained stable on Tuesday afternoon, according to the latest press release issued by the hospital.

"In agreement with the family, no other medical bulletins will be issued in the absence of significant developments," read Tuesday's statement.

Zanardi was taking part in the 'Obiettivo tricolore' relay race near Pienza, Tuscany when he lost control while descending and crossed lanes, colliding with a truck. The 53-year-old, who has four Paralympic gold medals to his name, was riding with ex-road pro Daniele Bennati on Friday, June 19 when the accident happened.

After being airlifted to hospital in Siena, Zanardi underwent a three-hour neurological and maxillofacial [jaw and face] surgery before being taken to intensive care.

On Tuesday, it was announced that the Ferrari F1 racing team would carry the message 'Forza Alex' on their cars during the Austrian Grand Prix this weekend. Zanardi raced F1 for two spells in the 1990s, also racing in the CART series until he lost his legs in an accident at the Lausitzring in Germany in 2001.

Zanardi returned to race in the World Touring Car Championship and later took up handcycling, enjoying great success on the bike. As well as four golds across the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics, he has also won the Venice, Rome and New York marathons, plus 12 Para-cycling World Championships.

Thank you for reading 5 articles in the past 30 days*

Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read any 5 articles for free in each 30-day period, this automatically resets

After your trial you will be billed £4.99 $7.99 €5.99 per month, cancel anytime. Or sign up for one year for just £49 $79 €59

Join now for unlimited access

Try your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

Senior news writer

Daniel Ostanek is Senior News Writer at Cyclingnews, having joined in 2017 as a freelance contributor and later being hired full-time. Prior to joining the team, they had written for numerous major publications in the cycling world, including CyclingWeekly, Rouleur, and CyclingTips.


Daniel has reported from the world's top races, including the Tour de France and the spring Classics, and has interviewed many of the sport's biggest stars, including Wout van Aert, Remco Evenepoel, Demi Vollering, and Anna van der Breggen.


As well as original reporting, news and feature writing, and production work, Daniel also oversees The Leadout newsletter and How to Watch guides throughout the season. Their favourite races are Strade Bianche and the Volta a Portugal.