Alex Zanardi is aiming for a hand cycling medal in the 2012 Paralympic Games in London after winning Sunday's Rome marathon.
The former grand prix driver won yesterday's event in 1h15m53s, two minutes clear of his nearest rival, and boosted by the result he believes he can challenge for a medal in two years time.
"Racing here has been very exciting, a lot more than when I used to wait in a car for the lights to start a motor race - maybe because it had been habit," Zanardi told Gazzetta dello Sport.
"To find myself among many people cheering me and pushing me on is completely different - you feel the warmth and the pleasure of the support right on your skin, you live it moment by moment."
Zanardi has stepped up his hand cycling activity since retiring from the World Touring Car Championship at the end of last season.
"I train practically every day for at least 60km and I've even done a 120km run to verify my stamina. The end result obtained here in Rome is excellent - it could have been better, but the route isn't easy and I faced some winds towards the end.
"I have an objective and I won't deny it. I hope to go to London for the 2012 Paralympic Games and fight for the podium."
The 2012 Paralympic Games will be held in London from August 29 to September 9, following the Summer Olympics from July 27 to August 12.