ALEX ZANARDI has been rushed to hospital in Italy following an accident on his handbike involving a lorry.
The former F1 driver, who suffered a double amputation of his legs after a horrific crash in 2001, turned paralympian and is a four-time champion.
Zanardi was taken to hospital via air ambulance after the crash near Pienza during a national race for Paralympic athletes on handbikes.
A police official in Montepulciano said the accident involved a heavy vehicle" and he believed Zanardi was still alive.
The official did not give his name.
Gazzetta dello Sport reported that the accident happened when Zanardi was descending a hill, lost control and veered into oncoming traffic where he was hit by a truck.
The Italian Olympic and Paralympic Committees had no immediate comment.
Zanardi won four gold medals in handbike at the 2012 and 2016 Paralympics.
The 53-year-old lost both of his legs following a horrific crash during a 2001 CART race in Germany.
At the time, Zanardi was a two-time CART champion who had recently returned from a second stint in Formula One.
INCREDIBLE RACING RETURN
He had ploughed through the field to lead laps for the first time since he'd left the series after his 1998 title.
The crash occurred when Zanardi spun his car after a pit stop and he was hit by another driver. Both legs were severed at impact.
Zanardi was an established racing star before his accident and his accomplishments since transcend sports.
An inspirational figure with an indomitable spirit, he designed his own prosthetics that he jokes made himself taller and he learned to walk again.
Then he returned to racing in touring cars.
After that came hand cycling, a class victory in the New York City Marathon and Paralympic glory.
In January, Zanardi competed in the prestigious Rolex 24 at Daytona endurance race, driving in a race for the first time without prosthetics.
He used a special steering wheel designed for him by BMW that allowed him to drive with hand levers.
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