By Duncan Mackay

Alex Zanardi September 8 London 2012November 29 - Former Formula One driver Alex Zanardi has set his sights on competing at Rio 2016 even though he will be nearly 50 by then.

The Italian lost both legs in a car crash in 2001 and turned to handbiking with outstanding success.

He won two gold medals at the London 2012 Paralympics in the individual H4 time trial and the individual H4 road race, along with a silver medal in the mixed H1-4 team relay.

Zanardi had been uncertain about carrying on but has now confirmed for the first time that he hopes to compete in Brazil in four years.

"There is more [development] at the bottom of the barrel to be scratched up, [which] is why this sport is so exciting," he told Autosport magazine in an interview published today.

"Paracycling is still a new sport, and in a way we are all pioneers.

"Therefore I think that at the next Games at Rio de Janeiro, for sure I will not be as good an athlete because I will be older, but there will be many other areas, including in my training, where I can make gains.

Alex Zanardi with Lonodn 2012 gold medal September 5Alex Zanardi is already dreaming of adding another gold medal in Rio 2016 to the two he won at London 2012

"In other words, in four years time I can probably be faster than I was in London.

"And that's why, right now, I'm inclined to believe that I will be in Rio de Janeiro.

"If it doesn't happen, so what?

"It will be really exciting to try anyway.

"I am a dreamer, and right now there is nothing wrong with dreaming of being in Rio de Janeiro.

"London was London, and that was the end of a great adventure.

"But now there is no reason why I cannot start a new one."

Contact the writer of this story at [email protected]

Related stories
October 2012: Zanardi crowned IPC male athlete of the month
September 2012: "I have enough talent to return to motor racing," claims Zanardi
September 2012: Zanardi could be set for return to motor racing
September 2012: Zanardi wins second handcycle gold but Britons' attempt for bronze medal share fails
September 2012: Former F1 ace Zanardi claims Paralympic gold medal at Brands Hatch