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Zanardi returning to intensive care in Milan

FILE PHOTO: 2016 Rio Paralympics - Cycling Road - Final - Mixed Team Relay H2-5 - Pontal - Rio de Janeiro, Brazil - 16/09/2016. Alessandro Zanardi of Italy reacts. REUTERS/Ricardo Moraes

ROME (Reuters) - Italian former Formula One driver and Paralympic champion Alex Zanardi was returning to intensive care on Friday, three days after being moved to a specialist recovery centre to treat serious head injuries.

The 53-year-old underwent three operations at Siena’s Santa Maria alle Scotte hospital after being placed in an induced coma following the June 19 accident while taking part in a road race on a handbike.

He was moved last Tuesday to the Villa Beretta centre in northern Italy, but they issued a statement on Friday saying his condition was unstable and they were arranging a transfer to Milan’s San Raffaele hospital.

The San Raffaele press office said Zanardi had yet to arrive.

A double Champ Car champion in the United States, Zanardi had to have both of his legs amputated above the knee following a horrific crash in a race in Germany in September 2001.

He recovered to return to the track in touring cars before later taking up paracycling and winning four Paralympic gold medals.

Reporting by Angelo Amante in Rome, writing by Alan Baldwin in London, editing by Toby Davis

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