Dimension Data 'guarantee' Tafi will not race Paris-Roubaix with them
'First reaction would be to check the calendar to see if it was April 1,' says Aldag
Dimension Data head of performance Rolf Aldag has stated that there is no chance of Andrea Tafi riding Paris-Roubaix with the African team in 2019. The former professional won the Classic in 1999 and has made plans to return to the sport at the age of 52 next season. He has been linked to a number of teams, with UCI President David Lappartient recently suggesting that Dimension Data were in the mix.
However, the team announced their 2019 roster at the conclusion of their training camp in South Africa and, somewhat predictably, Tafi's name was not among the list of riders.
"He's not with us, I can guarantee you that," Rolf Aldag told Cyclingnews.
Aldag, 50, added: "Bernie Eisel suggested I could try and do it, as I'm a bit younger than Tafi but honestly if I can make our seven for Paris-Roubaix then we've got big problems.
"To be honest I think he called every team a couple of times but if you look into our team for the Spring Classics with Edvald Boasson Hagen and Michael Valgren, I think we have some pretty good riders.
"When I first read about Tafi coming back, I found it interesting. Guys who train with him seem to think that he's really fit but what's the point? He won Paris-Roubaix twenty years ago but he's never ever going to win it again."
Tafi has reportedly talked to several teams, and in early November he told Het Laatste Nieuws that he had found a team but that he was unable to announce it publicly. His former boss, Patrick Lefevere, who helped guide him to victory in Paris-Roubaix in 1999, recently told Cyclingnews that he thought the Italian was using the comeback to generate interest in a possible television documentary that would follow his return to elite sport.
Aldag, who raced against Tafi during their respective careers, admitted that there could be a media interest in a possible return for his old rival, but that Dimension Data had greater priorities given the athletes they have and their focus on the Spring campaign.
"If he rides to prove that you can still do something on a bike, I'm sure no one really doubts that," Aldag said. "If a team gives him a spot it's because they see themselves getting something out of it, like PR or a sporting value. That's fair enough, it's a team sport, but I've not talked to him. I understand that he's reached out to literally every team and he fishing for something. Out of politeness they've talked to him, but their first reaction would be to check the calendar to see if it was April 1. But there's no interest in our side."
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Daniel Benson was the Editor in Chief at Cyclingnews.com between 2008 and 2022. Based in the UK, he joined the Cyclingnews team in 2008 as the site's first UK-based Managing Editor. In that time, he reported on over a dozen editions of the Tour de France, several World Championships, the Tour Down Under, Spring Classics, and the London 2012 Olympic Games. With the help of the excellent editorial team, he ran the coverage on Cyclingnews and has interviewed leading figures in the sport including UCI Presidents and Tour de France winners.