Andrea Tafi says he has found a team for Paris-Roubaix return at 52 years old

The Italian hopes to return to the cobbles 20 years after his victory at the Roubaix velodrome

(Image credit: Yuzuru SUNADA)

Andrea Tafi says he has found a team for his return to Paris-Roubaix, 20 years after he took home the cobble trophy.

Tafi, now 52, announced last month he planned to return to racing at the French Monument next season.

The Italian said he approached Quick-Step Floors boss Patrick Lefevere in the hopes of riding for the Belgian team.

According to Tafi, Lefevere said it was a “beautiful” idea but that he could not offer the retired rider a place on the team.

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But Tafi says he has found a team to support his ambition.

He told Belgian newspaper Het Laatste Nieuws: “Unfortunately I can not say which one. Not yet.

“Everyone says I’m crazy, but I do not think so. I follow my heart.

“I know how difficult it is.

“I’m going to train and see where I come out.”

Tafi won Paris-Roubaix in 1999 while riding for Mapei, at the age of 32.

He retired in 2005, having completed the race 13 times, finishing every time he entered and placing first, second and third.

Tafi claimed he had “earned a master’s degree” in the race.

During his career he also won the Tour of Flanders in 2002, Paris-Tours in 2000 and Il Lombardia in 1996.

Australian Mathew Hayman (Mitchelton-Scott) won the race in 2016 at 37 years old. The oldest winner is Frenchman Gilbert Duclos-Lassalle, who won twice, the second time in 1993 at 38 years old. No one ever retired and returned 20 years later to race, let alone win.

This year’s winner was Peter Sagan (Bora-Hangrohe), who finally found luck on his side and claimed his second career Monument at 28 years old.

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Alex Ballinger

Alex Ballinger is editor of BikeBiz magazine, the leading publication for the UK cycle industry, and is the former digital news editor for After gaining experience in local newsrooms, national newspapers and in digital journalism, Alex found his calling in cycling, first as a reporter, then as news editor responsible for Cycling Weekly's online news output, and now as the editor of BikeBiz. Since pro cycling first captured his heart during the 2010 Tour de France (specifically the Contador-Schleck battle) Alex covered three Tours de France, multiple editions of the Tour of Britain, and the World Championships, while both writing and video presenting for Cycling Weekly. He also specialises in fitness writing, often throwing himself into the deep end to help readers improve their own power numbers.  Away from the desk, Alex can be found racing time trials, riding BMX and mountain bikes, or exploring off-road on his gravel bike. He’s also an avid gamer, and can usually be found buried in an eclectic selection of books.