Earlier this month, Andrea Tafi (52) said he had found a team to race for in 2019. According to him, the team is not yet able to announce his comeback publicly. The UCI president, David Lappartient, claimed it was South African team Dimension Data. And while the majority of the public look forward to the possible return of the 1999 Paris-Roubaix winner, Paolo Bettini’s stand on the matter is quite the opposite.
“To Andrea, I say: ‘I hope you don’t ride, you need to do other things in life at 52 years of age.’ His actions have drawn attention from the media, but it would be a lot better if he thought about giving an opportunity to a young rider. By doing this, he is stealing somebody’s place,” Bettini told La Gazzetta dello Sport.
Bettini spent four seasons alongside Tafi at Mapei between the years 1999 and 2002. And at 44, ten years after retirement, he has no plans on trying to return like his ex-colleague. Nevertheless, he is still in a great shape.
“I did a test the other day, producing a peak of 375 watts at a 166 heart rate.”
Bookmakers have already launched special odds for Tafi and the cobbled classic. Right now, it is 350/1 for the win and 50/1 for a top-10 finish. Tafi doesn’t seem to be bothered by any of that.
“In 20 years, cycling changed a lot. I’d like to do it again with all the new technology and knowledge. I’m a man of challenges, and so why stop myself?” Tafi said last month.
Is he right? Who do you side with? Bettini or Tafi?