April 20, 2005
Tour de Georgia Stage 2: Tafi in the lead
Andrea Tafi, of Saunier Duval-Prodir, is nearing retirement. The 38-year-old was expected to exit the pro peloton after Paris-Roubaix, but here he is, two weeks later, riding around Georgia.
In Tafi's career he has won, to re-use a joke, everything but Italian Idol, including the Tour of Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, the Italian national championship, two stages at the old Tour of the Americas, although never a stage win in a Grand Tour. He's started 6 Tours de France.
I'm going to pull for him because a) he's one of very few guys left in the peloton older than I am, and b) he shares a birthday, May 7, with my son.
It's going to be close for Tafi this afternoon -- the lead is about 4.5 minutes with 40 km to ride. The rule of thumb seems to be that a motivated peloton can put 1 minute per 10 kms into just about anybody, so Tafi is riding right on that ragged line.
Tafi was my hero in stage 2 of tdg. The old guy showed he still has it! After the stage3 tt Andrea was sitting on the back of his team car. He was easily approached for a friendly chat & graciously autographed his pic in my Cyclesport mag. In fact, he seemed touched that I asked him and knew who he was(not L.A.). On a cold snow flurried ascent of the stage5 BALD, Tafi was seen climbing with difficulty at the 3k to go marker. I ran to his aid, and asked if he would like a push, yes push push! he responded.I encouraged him with praise for his galant effort in stage2 His grimacing face turned to a smile as I assisted in his climb toward the summit. Another fan took over and I can only assume that others helped him until he could gather his strength to cross the line on his own. MY HERO OF TDG!
Posted by: garo at Apr 24, 2005 12:16:44 AM