By James Crook

169417622June 14 - The vintage Alex Zanardi insists that he is "like a good Italian red wine that gets better with age" as he retained his leader's jersey in the H4 International Cyclng Union (UCI) World Cup event in Segovia.

The evergreen 47-year-old, who won two gold medals and a silver at London 2012, came out on top in the second race of the season in Spain, and he believes that he could even go on to compete in Rio de Janeiro in three years time at the age of 50.

"I cannot predict anything for sure, but if you ask me right now, 'Alex, do you see yourself carrying on until Rio de Janeiro?' the answer is immediately 'Yes'," he said.

"I'm not any weaker than last year.

"I know that technically speaking I'm capable of winning.

"I proved that in London last year.

"I'm no longer somebody that will just do well.

"I now believe I'm one of the main contenders to win every weekend I race."

On the day he returned home from the Games with his three medals in tow, Zanardi got on his handcycle and went for a 120 kilometres ride through the Italian countryside, and spent his winter cross-country skiing and handcycling indoors.

151517727Zanardi took two gold medals and a silver at London 2012, and he believes he can do similar in Rio in three years time

He believes that his regime will keep him in good enough shape to be able to compete in Rio the same way in which he did in London.

"In terms of motivation, I have no doubt in my mind that I can still rock Rio de Janeiro," said the former Formula One motor racing driver

"My physical condition will be good enough to challenge my opponents in the same way I did in London.

"But I didn't jump on the bicycle because I wanted to win a medal in London.

"I won a medal in London because I wanted the world to see me step into a bicycle."

Zanardi was not the only one to retain the leaders jersey in Spain.

Ukranian Yehor Dementyev in the MC5, Czech Jiri Jezek in the MC4, Germany's Michael Teuber in the MC1, Poland's Rafal Wilk in the MH4, Americans Jamie Whitmore Cardenas in the WC3 and Monica Bascio in the WH3, Austrian Walter Ablinger in the MH2 and France's Quentin Aubague in the MT1, all took their second successive victories.

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