November 5 - A World Cup for Para-cyclists, that could feature former Formula One driver Alex Zanardi (pictured), will start in 2010, it has been announced.

The International Cycling Union (UCI) announced the inaugural circuit of three events will be held between May and July in Correze, France; Segovia, Spain; and Baie-Comeau, Canada.

UCI Para-cycling coordinator Chantale Philie said: "The UCI is confident that this first edition will be very successful.

"Indeed, the series should include four events from 2011.

"The new race should be organised in Asia or Oceania, which will contribute to the universal development of the discipline.”

Riders and national teams will earn points to qualify for the 2011 Para-cycling Road World Championships in Roskilde, Denmark.

Para-cycling was fully integrated into the UCI in February 2007 and is enjoying constant growth.

A record number of Para-cyclists participated in the 2008 Beijing Paralympic Games, and the organisation of the UCI World Cup is an important step for the development of the discipline, Philie said.

The participation of Zanardi would ensure it enjoys a high-profile.

Zanardi, a 42-year-old Italian, lost both his legs in a terrifying accident at the EuroSpeedway in 2001 during the Championship Auto Racing Teams' (CART, now Champ Car) German 500.

The crash happened with 13 laps to go in the race when Zanardi exited the pit lane and spun into the path of Canadian Alex Tagliani.

The impact cut Zanardi's car in half and sliced off both legs above the knee.

Remarkably, Zanardi continues to be a threat in the World Touring Car Championship where he drives a modified BMW sedan.

But he has also successfully taken up para-cycling and has set his sights on qualifying for the London 2012 Paralympics. 

Zanardi finished 14th in the individual time trial at the Para-Cycling Road World Championship in Italy in September and last month won his section in the Venice Marathon.

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September 2009: Former F1 driver Zanardi targets London Paralympic Games