Andrea Tafi, the last Italian to win Paris-Roubaix, continues to train hard to make his dream of returning to the Hell of the North possible.
Less than three months remain until Paris-Roubaix and Tafi’s plan appears at a dead-end without any professional team willing to sign him.
“In the first week of February I want clarity,” Tafi told Het Nieuwsblad. “I can’t say anything about it yet.”
“This is not a joke, but a real goal,” he said. “I train as hard as [I did] in my professional years. I hope to appear at the [race] start.”
The 52-year-old, who retired in 2005, revealed last October his ambitions of returning to the scene of one of the crowning moments of a career in which he won two other Monuments, the Tour of Flanders and the Tour of Lombardy.
“He doesn’t want to say it, but he can’t find a team,” said an Italian journalist. “He doesn’t want to talk. He doesn’t want to say that he will have to race the amateur event.”
“I don’t know, I’m not thinking about [the teams’ lack of interest] now,” Tafi said. “I’m training every day, five to seven hours. I am going ahead, I don’t want to give up anything.
“I’m calm, I want to continue down my road and live this dream. I have faith in good sense and that we’ll be able to celebrate this 1999 win.”