Nicknames


In an effort to maintain the high seriousness and comprehensiveness of these pages, here's the beginnings of an encyclopaedia of rider's nicknames. Any others? Please send me submissions, subject to the following rules:

A new entry = new since the last update.

Djamolodine Abdoujaparov "The Tashkent Terror" (on account of his sprinting style; apparently coined by Will Fotheringham); "Abdu" (ever tried saying "Djamolodine Abdujaparov" quickly?) "The terminator" (on account of how he bounced off things).
Jean Adriaenssens (twice third and twice a yellow jersey winner in the Tour de France in the '50's and '60's) "Jan"
Jean Aerts (one of only two riders to have been both amateur and professional World Road champion) "Hoge Piet", "Brummel van de fiets" because of his natural elegancy and style on the bike. (PB)
Ugo Agostini (early winner of Milan - San Remo) "Poncia" (PB)
Jean Alavoine (French stalwart of the Tour de France either side of the Great War, he four times finished in the top 3 and won 20 stages. It was said he never got off to walk in the mountains; all the more ironic that when his forks broke one year, he had to run the final few kilometres into Paris) "Gars Jean"
Robert Alban (French climber; 3rd in the '81 Tour de France). "Ban-ban"
Christian Andersen (Current Danish Pro). "Gummisko", or rubber shoe
Michael Andersson (Current Swedish Pro; second in the World TT championship in 1999). "Roddarn" (EL)
Eleuterio Anguita "El Lute", a common contraction of Eleuterio. Apparently there was a Gipsy criminal in the 1970s in Spain called Eleuterio who became known as "El lute" and now the name has stuck. Anguita won a stage in the 1997 Vuelta. (PT)
Jacques Anquetil "maître Jacques"; "Monsieur Chrono",
Hyppolyte Aucouturier "le terrible"
Federico Bahamontès "The eagle of Toledo" See, ironically, 1969 World Champion Harm Ottenbros
Gianbattista Baronchelli "Gibi"
Gino Bartali "Il Pio". Can it be long before people give Davide Rebellin the same name? Also "il Vecchio", i.e. the old man
Michele Bartoli "Michelino" early in his career; "Mikky"
Manuel Beltrán "Triki".
Jean-François Bernard "Jeff".
Julian Berrendero "El negro" or "El moreno" after his dark skin (PB)
Louison Bobet One for the 'strange-but-true' brigade; he was actually Louis Bobet, and Louison was a nickname gained after he rose to prominence in the French public in the 1949 Tour.
Michael Boogerd "Boogi" (EL)
Bernard Borreau "Petit frère", that is, "little brother". Borreau was a domestique for Peugeot and Renault in the late seventies/early eighties.
Ottavio Bottecchia "Le Maçon de Frioul" (the bricklayer of Friuli - named after his former profession).
Marcel Buysse "De Grote", that is "the elder" - he was Lucien Buysse's elder brother. (PB)
Francisco Cabello "Paco", a standard contraction of Francisco. I remember him clearly; he won the Brighton stage of the 1994 Tour de France, and attacked right by where I was standing. (PT)
Oskar Camenzind "Oski", "Össi" (EL)
Francesco Casagrande "Casseta". Also the rider known on these pages as "the Italian we don't mention by name"... (PT)
Mirko Celestino "Sputnik", from his teammates (GS)
Claudio Chiappucci "Il diablo" (the devil) - self styled, but it caught on. Also "Andreotti" on account of his physical resemblance to the former Italian Prime Minister of the same name.
Franco Chioccioli (Italian climber; winner of the 1991 Giro). "Coppino" ("Little Coppi"; if you see a photo, the resemblance is uncanny).
Eugène Christophe (First rider to wear the yellow jersey). "Cri-cri", "le vieux Gallois". See also Claude Criquielion.
Mario Cipollini Undisputed leader of the pack when it comes to nicknames - only Pantani comes close. "Super Mario", "The fastest man in the world" (he denies all knowledge of having started this nickname, but doesn't deny its content). "Il bello". "The Florentine Mouth" (to his detractors). "The Florentine Mousse" (after a particularly disasterous hairstyle - not so much a hair-do as a hair-don't). "The Lion King" of late. Can "The Sun King" and ultimately "God" be far behind?
Thierry Claveyrolat (French climber) "Clavette", "The eagle of Vizille" (a village outside Grenoble).
Salvatore Commesso (1999 Italian Champion and Tour de France stage winner) "Toto" (EL)
Fausto Coppi "il Campionissimo". This name was also bestowed on Binda and Girardengo, and seemingly during lean periods for Italian cycling, on anyone who wins a classic, but really it belongs to Coppi. Also, "Il Airone", that is "the Heron", on account of his physique.
Henri Cornet "The joker"
Edgar Corredor One of the 80's generation of Colombians, he was known as "Condorito" (little condor) on acount of his climbing prowess.(PT)
Claude Criquielion "Cri-cri". See also Eugène Christophe. Also "le Criq" (thanks to Philippe Mayne of Belgium for this one).
Laudelino Cubino "Lale"
André Darrigade "Dédé"; I think dédé translates roughly as "Dude" in English, but is in any case a common diminutive of André in French. See also André Leducq.
Pedro Delgado "Perico"
Roger de Vlaeminck "The gypsy", "Mr. Paris-Roubaix".
Rafael Diaz Justo (ONCE domestique) "El pulga" that is, "the flea", on account of his diminutive stature. (PT) Pablo Torres was similarly nicknamed "the Torrelevaga flea".
Jean Diederich (Luxembourg winner of several Tour stages in the 'fities) "Bim". I have no idea about this one - it's right up there with Lucien "Ouistiti" Van Impe
Gilbert Duclos-Lasalle "Gibus"
Laurent Dufaux "Duduf" (EL)
Jacky Durand "Dudu" - yet another of those French repeated syllable names.
Viacheslav Ekimov "Slava" (a standard Russian contraction); "Yeki" (PT)
Federico Extabe "El potro de Kortezubi" ("The foal from Kortezubi"); Kortezubi is his home village; "the foal" because he is an aggressive rider.
François Faber "The giant of Colombes"
Peter Farazijn (Current Cofidis pro) "fausto", because his mentor Michel Pollentier believes his riding style is like that of the great Campionissimo (HD). Other riders nicknamed after Coppi include Franco Chioccioli and Tommy Simpson. A new entry
Laurent Fignon "Le professeur" on account of his glasses and a rather studious demeanour, especially when he was younger - not to mention the fact he does actually have a degree.
Francisco Tomás Garcia (1990's Spanish professional, 1997 Spanish amateur champion) "Curro". (PT)
César García Calvo (1990's Spanish professional) "El Jabalí del Bierzo", that is, "the boar of El Bierzo". On account of his riding style and home town. (PT)
Félix García Casas 1990's Spanish professional was called "El trampas" (the fiddler) in his youth. (PT)
José-Vicente Garcia (Vuelta stage winner in 1997) "Chente", a shortened form of Vicente.
Maurice Garin "The white bulldog". Also "Le petit ramoneur" (the little chimney sweep - like Herrera, nicknamed after a former profession).
Stefano Garzelli "Piratino" ("little pirate"). Just as early in his career Pantani was nicknamed "Il diabolino" after Claudio Chiappucci, so Stefano Garzelli is being called "piratino" after Pantani. "You'll have to stop calling me that now", he said, having won the Giro...
Philippe Gaumont "La Gaume" according to Rob Hayles, a team mate in 2001 (RB)
Charly Gaul "The angel of the mountains"
Raphaël Geminiani "Le grand fusil" (The big gun, on account of his temperament); "Gem"
Walter Godefroot Like Museeuw and Van Hauwaert, another Fleming animal; this time "The Bulldog of Flanders"
José Gonzalez Invariably called "Chepe" - hardly anyone even knows he is called José. Also "the man with eight women", on account of the fact that he lives at home with his mother, his wife, his daughter and five sisters.
Ramon Gonzalez Arrieta "Ramonxtu" (PT)
Julian Gorospe "El rubio de Mañaria"; "El rubio" means "the blond [man]"
Ivan Gotti "Bimbo" (the kid) to his teammates. See also Frank Vandenbroucke.
Jean Graczyck "Popof"
José Javier Gomez (1990's Spanish professional) "Pipe"
Giuseppe Guerini "Beppe" (the standard Italian contraction of Giuseppe - see Saronni). Sometimes "Turbo" or "Turbo Beppe" (EL and others)
Learco Guerra "The human locomotive"
José Enrique Gutiérrez (In 2000, a Kelme pro and brief leader in the Giro) "Kike" / "Quique", a common Spanish contraction of Enrique (PT)
Andy Hampsten "Ernie" - in his younger day he looked like Ernie from the TV show "My Three Sons".
Roger Hassenforder "The Clown" to the public, "the bandit" to fellow riders. Is it true he once enjoyed carnal relations on a Tour de France stage, while the bunch slowed down to let him regain contact afterwards. Stangely, the official Tour encyclopædia mentions nothing of the incident... (RG)
Jens Heppner "Heppe" (M)
Luis Herrera "Lucho"; "The Gardener" (it was his profession).
Bernard Hinault "le Blaireau" ("the badger"). Initially Hinault disowned this name, but later he got to like it, admitting that he had hunted badgers and he admired their cunning. I've also heard some Americans call him "Bernie". Mind you, these are the same people who refer to Campag as "Campy" - enough said.
Emile Idée "The King of the Chevreuse" Many of Idée's victories, such as Paris - Rheims, the Critérium Nationale and the Grand Prix du Nations, took place in the Chevreuse valley just outside Paris.
Miguel Indurain "Miguelon", "El Rey" (the king) "Big-Mig". This latter even reached a certain prominence amongst my non-cycling friends. It was coined by William and Alasdair Fotheringham during the 1992 Tour when asked by Samuel Abt to come up with a translation for Miguelon.
Jörg Jaksche "JJ", pronounced the English way (i.e. "Jay-Jay".) Used in TV commentary by Toni Rominger, amongst others. (PH) A new entry
Laurent Jalabert "El Yaya" in Spain; "Jaja" everywhere else. The first graduate of the Nigel Mansell school of facial expressions. Also "the Panda" on account of his bushy eyebrows.
José-Maria Jimenez "El Chaba", derived from the word chabacano, meaning "rude" or "gross". He had this nickname from childhood; by all accounts it is undeserved. Also "Torrito" (little bull), i.e. crazy (EL and others)
Julio Jimenez "The watchmaker of Avila"
Bobby Julich Invariably known as "Bobby J" (PT)
Sean Kelly "King Kelly", "The new cannibal", "Mr. Paris-Nice".
Ron Kiefel (7-11 and Motorola pro) "Wookie", derived apparently from Star Wars.
Marcel Kint "The black eagle"
Hugo Koblet "Le pedalleur du charme"; "Beautiful Hugo". Not only was he beautiful to watch, but he always carried a comb with him for use after the finish.
Gerrie Knetemann "Kneet" (this is analogous to names like Beppe, Gibi, Walko, Lale - more a shortened form than a true nickname). I remember a magazine in Britain christening him "Gerrie Kleptoman" during the '82 Tour de France when he kept popping up and stealing stages from under the noses of other riders.
Ferdi Kübler "Die Nase", on account of his prominent nose.
Hennie Kuiper "The gentleman". Also "Tonton" after the Belgium cub reporter Tintin. (RM)
Octave Lapize "le frisé" ("the curly-haired"). Co-incidentally, also the guy who famously shouted "assassins" to the Tour organisers after the race's first excursion into the Pyrenees. Also "Tatave".
Luc Leblanc Widely called "Stuart", at least amongst British circles. The name came from Beavis and Butthead via Robert Millar, but since I've only seen the programme once and thought it was trash, I don't know what it means, except that it is derogatory. Also "Lucho". (AJ and others)
André Leducq "le joyeux dédé"
Marino Lejarreta "El junco de Berriz". Berriz is his home village; el junco means a reed. When he climbed mountains, he was like a reed blown by the wind.
Greg Lemond "Fat Greggy" to his detractors; "le Monster".
David McKenzie Somewhat inevitable this one, McKenzie (who won a stage of the 2000 Giro whilst riding for the Linda McCartney team), instantly got christened "Macca", also the nickname of the late Linda's husband, ex mop-top Paul McCartney.(PT)
Sylvére Maes "Le Père futé" (the crafty father).
Antonin Magne "The taciturn", "Tonin"
Thierry Marie "Titi"
Miguel Ángel Martín Perdiguero (Long-time Banesto domestique in the days of Indurain) "El perdi", on account of his last name. Unusally, he generally takes the name "Perdiguero" whereas "Martin" would be more common for a Spaniard. He had a good Giro in 2000.(PT)
Juan Tomás Martinez (Spanish pro throughout the eighties and early nineties) "El volcán de Baracaldo" (self explanatory!)
Eddy Merckx "Le cannibale", understandably enough
Francesco Moser "Cecco"
Johan Museeuw Like his compatriot of nearly a century before Cyrille Van Hauwaert, Museeuw is known as "De Leeuw van Vlaanderen" - i.e. "The Lion of Flanders" - for his three wins in the Tour of Flanders. What goes around comes around, as they say. (GL)
Gastone Nencini "Le lion de Mugello"
Jelle Nijdam (Multi stage winner in the Tour de France, often taken by a daring attack in the last kilometre, just before the sprint-proper began), "Turbo Jelle".
Stuart O'Grady "Stuey" (a standard contraction of Stuart); "Freckle" (on account of his freckles).
Harm Ottenbros "The eagle of Hoogerheide" ("De Adelaar van Hoogerheide"). Kermesse-specialist Ottenbros was a great climber, you see, in the first rank alongside Bahamontès ...
Marco Pantani "Diabolino" ("Little devil", after Chiappucci); "Nosferatu", "Elefantino" and "Dumbo" (after his somewhat prominent ears), "The pirate" (only Pantani seems to call himself this). The only other rider in the same league as Cipollini when it comes to nicknames. Oh yeah, and he's the best climber in the world and he has the stage wins to prove it - OK, Richard?
Wilfried Peeters "Fiete", a contraction of his name. Surprisingly he is not on the main list, but he is the backbone of the Mapei classics team and is essentially Museeuw's personal domestique, always there or thereabouts at the end of the classics.
Lucien Petit-Breton Another one for the 'strange-but-true' brigade; "Petit Breton" was a nickname; his real name was Lucien Mazan. Also sometimes called "the Argentine", since he had some South American blood in him. (A pint? That's nearly an armful!) See also " Bobet.
Davis Phinney (Ex 7-11 and Motorola pro) "cash register", on account of his always chasing after primes.
Eddy Planckaert "De kleine" ("the small one") as he was small, and also the youngest of the Planckaert brothers. (HD) A new entry
Eros Poli "Beau Eros".
Michel Pollentier According to Robin Magowan in "Tour de France", Hinault called him "Polio", a play on his name and his ugly riding style (RM). Alos "peerke Pollentier". "Peer" is Flemish for pear, after the infamous l'Alpe d'Huez incident and his pear-shaped urine bulb. (BvH) A new entry
Lucien Pothier Runner up in the inaugaral Tour de France, he was the revelation of the race. L'Auto nicknamed him "The butcher of Sens", after his profession and town.
René Pottier Tour de France winner in 1906, he made his reputation by climbing the Ballon d'Alsace, the Tour's first mountain, without dismounting. Soon after he was being styled as "the first king of the climbers".
Raymond Poulidor "Pou-pou". What is it about the French and these repeated-syllable nicknames? See also "Ban-ban", "Cri-cri", "Trou-trou" etc. etc. Also "the eternal second" - see also Adri van der Poel.
Filippo Pozzati At 18 years of age (in 2000), Pozzati is by far the youngest rider in the pro peloton this year, having gone straight from junior to pro. Not too young to have a nickname though: "Pippo". (PT)
Ivan Quaranta A lightning-quick Giro sprinter and former World Junior Sprint Champion. "il Ghepardo", that is, "the Cheetah". (RB) A new entry
Bjarne Riis "The eagle of Herning" (where he lives) (GS). See also Bahamontès, Ottenbros etc. Also (scurrilously, no doubt...) "Mr 60%".
Christophe Rinero (1998 Tour de France KoM) "Tito" (MvL) A new entry
Jean Robic "Tête de cuir". Robic was one of the first road riders to wear a helmet. Also "le biquet"
José Francisco Rodrigues (Vuelta stage winner, 1987) "Pacho"
Martin Emilio Rodriguez (The first really significant Colombian Professional), "Cochise"
Nelson Rodriguez (Tour de France stage winner, 1994) "Cacaito" or "Coco" in the English press.
Tony Rominger "El Martillo" - the hammer. Also "the camel" on account of his prominently humped back.
José Luis Rubiera "Chechu" (PT)
Giuseppe Sarroni "Beppe", somewhat inevitably.
Paolo Savoldelli (2nd in the 1999 Giro) "Babyface". He owed his place in the Giro principally down to some epic descending skills, which led to another nickname, "Falco" ("the Falcon"). (GS and others)
Briek Schotte "The last of the Flandrians". Also "Iron Briek". A new entry
Léon Scieur "La locomotive". See also Learco Guerra.
Patrick Sercu The 6-day legend was known as "the Flemish arrow"
Oscar Sevilla (Best young rider in the 2001 Tour de France) "Sevillita", a diminutive of his name. (PT)
François Simon Youngest of the Simon cycling dynasty and Maillot Jaune in the 2001 Tour de France. "Spud", according to Chris Boardman on Eurosport. Does anyone know the derivation? (TJ) A new entry
Tommy Simpson "Four-stone Coppi" to his British clubmates. (One stone = fourteen pounds weight) "Mister Tom" for a while to the French when he was playing up his Britishness.
Andrea Tafi "Il Tafone" ("Big Tafi"), based on his name. His supporters wear T-shirts bearing the logo "I'm a fan of Tafi" - which renders better in Italian, "Io Tifo Tafi". Also "Il Gladiatore" (EL and others)
Andreï Tchmil "Judas" to at least some of the highly partisan Belgian fans, after the ongoing rivalry and bitterness with Johan Museeuw. (GL) Also ""Dre", a contraction of Andreî. (BvH) A new entry
Pedro Torres On account of his stature, "the Torrelevaga flea"
Louis Troussellier "Trou-trou"
Jan Ullrich "Der Junge Jan", "Il Kaiser" (M)
José Ramón Uriarte (Long-time Banesto domestique in the days of Indurain) "Joserra", a diminutive of José Ramón. (PT)
Jean-Philippe Vandenbrande "Flip". Robert Millar reckoned he was the ugliest rider he ever rode against...
Frank Vandenbroucke Another rider called "Bimbo" by his team. See also Ivan Gotti. Also known as "the golden baby", on account of his combination of great talent and fragile physique. Generally abreviated to "VdB", as was his uncle and sometime team manager, Jean-Luc Vandenbroucke
Adri van der Poel "Poelke"; "Pou-pou". This latter is a kind of play on words; partly it recognises his 6 silver medals at the Worlds, cyclocross and on the road; and partly it commemorates his marriage to Poulidor's daughter Corrinne.
Wim van Est (First Dutchman to wear the Yellow Jersey, who retired whilst in yellow after a bad crash on the descent of the Col d'Aubisque). "Iron William"; "Le Miracle de l'Aubisque"; "Le Roi des Tombeurs" - kind of the Alex Zülle of his day. Apparently, there was an advertisement at the time for a watch on Dutch Radio that ran, "his heart stood still but his Pontiac watch was still running". (EvdM)
Cyrille Van Hauwaert "De Leeuw van Vlaanderen", that is, "the lion of Flanders". (EvdM)
Edwig Van Hooydonck "Eddy Bosberg", the Bosberg being the site of his attacks to win the Tour of Flanders.
Lucien Van Impe "l'Ouistiti". Qué? as Manuel would say. Also "de vrouw" ("the woman") after his somewhat effeminate perm in the early eighties. (HD)
Rik van Looy "The emperor of Herentals"; "Rik II" (after Van Steenbergen).
Peter Van Petegem "De Zwarte van Brakel" (The black [haired] person from Brakel). (GL) Van Petegem was born and still lives in Brakel, to the south of Ghent. Cycle Sport magazine once crowned the roundabout in Brakel (yes, the roundabout - it is a small place) as the spiritual home of Flemish cycling...
Rik van Steenbergen "Rik I".
René Vietto "Le roi René".
Richard Virenque Amazingly enough, the world's most popular man (Source: French housewives' survey) doesn't appear to have too many nicknames (apart from the diminutives "Rico" and "Ricardo"), though a fair number of rather colourful epithets have been thrown his way by his disgruntled fellow riders, mainly complaining of the size of his ego. "Blondie" is apparently used in the newsgroup rec.bicycles.racing. William Fotheringham writes to say that "Spotted Dick" was used by journalists during the 1999 Tour de France. (For the uninitiated, spotted dick is an English pudding, made from suet and currants and drenched in a treacly - buttery sauce. It's either delicious or revolting, depending on your point of view. At least, this is what I think WF meant when he said, "sums him up perfectly...") Still, no-one knows how to pronounce his name either - Virenk, Vironk and Virank are all common. Virenque himself says "Virank", which fits with his southern birth. Oh yeah, and he's the best climber in the world and he has the jersies to prove it - OK, Marco?
Marinus Wagtmans "Rini".
Roger Walkowiak "Walko".
Stefan Wesemann (1990's German pro) "Wese" (M)
Sean Yates (Tour of Belgium winner and Tour de France stage winner) . "Big Sean", "the animal".
Pablo Wilches Colombian pro from the 1980s, known as "el negro wilches" on account of his dark skin.(PT)
Erik Zabel Somewhat inevitably, "Mr, Milan - San Remo" (GS) Also, amongst other riders, he is known as "Ete". (PH) A new entry
Mikel Zarrabeitia One of the nearly-men of Spanish cycling, once touted as a possible new Indurain. Nicknamed "Zarra". (PT)
Alex Zülle I've heard "the myopic from Wil", which seems just a tad cruel.