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Andrea Tafi (born 7 May 1966 in Fucecchio) is an Italian former road bicycle racer who retired from his professional career in 2005. Tafi's propensity to perform best in the harder races earned him the nickname "Il Gladiatore" (English: "The Gladiator").[1]

Andrea Tafi
Andréa TAFI.jpg
Tafi at the 1996 Paris–Tours
Personal information
Full nameAndrea Tafi
NicknameIl Gladiatore
Born (1966-05-07) 7 May 1966 (age 53)
Fucecchio, Italy
Height1.87 m (6 ft 1 12 in)
Weight73 kg (161 lb; 11 st 7 lb)
Team information
Current teamRetired
DisciplineRoad
RoleRider
Rider typeClassics specialist
Professional team(s)
1989Eurocar
1990-1991Selle Italia
1992-1993Carrera Jeans–Vagabond
1994-2002Mapei–CLAS
2003Team CSC
2004Alessio–Bianchi
2005Saunier Duval–Prodir
Major wins
One-day races and Classics
National Road Race Championships (1998)
Giro di Lombardia (1996)
Paris–Roubaix (1999)
Tour of Flanders (2002)
Grand Prix de Fourmies (1994, 1997)
Paris–Brussels (1996)
Wincanton Classic (1997)
Giro del Piemonte (1999)
Paris–Tours (2000)

Tafi specialized in the cobbled Spring Classics such as Paris–Roubaix which he won in 1999, and Tour of Flanders which he won in 2002. He won the Giro di Lombardia in 1996 and the Italian National Championship in 1998.[2]

Contents

CareerEdit

The most successful part of Tafi's career was spent with the Italian super-squad Mapei–CLAS. In the 1996 edition of Paris–Roubaix the team put four of their riders in a breakaway at the front of the race: Johan Museeuw, Gianluca Bortolami, previous year's winner Franco Ballerini, and Tafi. Ballerini had a flat and was out of the lead group, but the other three powered their way to the finish.

In 1996 Tafi won the "race of the falling leaves" Giro di Lombardia, using his strength to overcome the climbs of the race. He said that his dream was to emulate his cycling hero fellow Italian Francesco Moser, which is to win Paris–Roubaix wearing the Tricolore jersey as the Italian National Champion. He accomplished this in his win in 1999.[3] He won Paris–Tours in a long breakaway effort in 2000, foiling the sprinters' teams. After a few lacklustre years, he again shone in the 2002 edition of the hilly, cobbled classic Tour of Flanders. Having established himself in a front breakaway with the likes of Johan Museeuw, Peter van Petegem and teammate Daniele Nardello, he made attacks after attacks, finally taking advantage of a moment's hesitation between the two home favorites Museeuw and van Petegem to solo to the finish for the win.

After the demise of the Mapei super-team, Tafi moved to the reformed Team CSC under Bjarne Riis for the 2003 season. His time with team Alessio–Bianchi in 2004 also didn't re-ignite his performance. He finally moved to the new Saunier Duval–Prodir team for his last season in 2005. Tafi ended his career at the 2005 Paris–Roubaix, before retiring from the sport.[4]

Comeback attemptEdit

Having competed in amateur Masters races for several years, Tafi announced in October 2018 that he would seek a comeback in 2019 to race Paris–Roubaix on the twentieth anniversary of his victory. On 8 November 2018, it was reported that he had found a team to ride with and that would attempt to receive a wildcard invitation for the event. Would his comeback have been successful, he would have been 52 years old when riding the race.[5][6] A collarbone fracture eventually put an end to Tafi's comeback plans.[7]

DopingEdit

Tafi's name was on the list of doping tests published by the French Senate on 24 July 2013 that were collected during the 1998 Tour de France and found positive for EPO when retested in 2004.[8]

Major resultsEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Andrea Tafi, il Gladiatore" (in Italian). museociclismo.it. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  2. ^ "Italian National Road Championships - CN". autobus.cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  3. ^ "Andrea Tafi wins Paris - Roubaix 1999". cyclingfever.com. Retrieved 21 September 2012.
  4. ^ "Tafi to bid farewell". Eurosport. 4 April 2005. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  5. ^ "Should Andrea Tafi return to Paris-Roubaix at 52?". Cycling Weekly. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  6. ^ "Tafi says he's found a team for 2019". cyclingnews.com. 8 November 2018. Retrieved 13 November 2018.
  7. ^ Farrand, Stephen (17 March 2019). "Collarbone fracture ends Tafi's dream of racing Paris-Roubaix". cyclingnews.com. Retrieved 16 May 2019.
  8. ^ "French Senate releases positive EPO cases from 1998 Tour de France".

External linksEdit