Posts Tagged ‘Thomas Voeckler’

A new list of professional cyclists’ nicknames

February 22, 2013
A Manxman astride a missile

A Manxman astride a missile

A reporter at the newspaper I work for once asked me if Mark Cavendish had a nickname. Cav had just won the BBC Sports Personality Of The Year award, and my journalist chum wanted a catchy handle to pep up his report of the event. So I told him, yes, Mark Cavendish does indeed have a nickname. It is the Manx Missile.

“Really?” said the reporter.

“Yes, really,” I said.

“That is BRILLIANT! Thank you!”

His cycling knowledge is negligible and he was up against a deadline, so he was grateful I had helped to fill a small hole in his copy. And he realised that most of his readers, even though they may have very little interest in cycling, would like Cav’s nickname too. It’s got pizazz. It’s leavened with humour. It sticks in the mind.

Sadly, The Manx Missile is one of cycling’s few memorable current nicknames. Off the top of my head, I can only think of three others that are similarly energised: Tornado Tom, El Pistolero and Spartacus. And this is a sport that, once upon a time, effortlessly produced stacks of classic calling cards such as The Cannibal, The Heron, The Angel of the Mountains, and The Eagle of Toledo. Where oh where have all the good names gone?

To remedy this paucity, I am now starting this alphabetical list of professional cyclists’ nicknames, each of which I have made up (except for Edvald Boassen Hagen’s, which Mrs Dynamite will have to answer for). I’ll add more as I think of them. No rider is too obscure, nor any moniker too daft, so please feel free to email me any further suggestions to dancehippocleides at mac dot com or leave a comment below.

Let the sobriquet-fest begin!

NAME: Edvald Boasson Hagen
NICKNAME: Boobs-And-Hard-On
WHY: Some say “BWA-son Hagen”, others say “Bo-AH-son Hagen”, whereas Mrs Dynamite prefers to say “Boobs-And-Hard-On”. Or “Boobs” for short. Yes, it’s a bit rude, but then so are the sort of films you would stereotypically associate with the Scandinavian’s home region, so at least it’s appropriate in that sense. Besides, we can go back to calling him The Boss when he actually gets round to winning big.

NAME: Enrico Gasparotto
NICKNAME: The Poacher
WHY: The finishing line will not grace the crest of the Cauberg for the Amstel Gold in April, so this particular nickname is a means of drawing attention to 2012’s thrilling hilltop climax at a race that is often overshadowed by its Belgian one-day counterparts. Oscar Freire, alone at the front with less than one kilometre to go, looked like he might just take the win. Then Philippe Gilbert leapt out of the bunch to get within touching distance of the fading Spaniard – victory, surely, was soon to be his. But suddenly Peter Sagan, one of the three men who Gilbert had taken with him, now appeared to have the edge… only for a lesser-celebrated rider from Astana to pass the Slovak as Jelle Vanendert banged his handlebars in frustration. Hardy Classics veterans and young up-and-commers were both denied. And that, ladies and gentlemen, is how you poach a win.

NAME: José Rujano
NICKNAME: The Merlin of Merida
WHY: Giro high-flyer Rujano and Robert Gesink have both been referred to as The Condor, thereby contravening the fundamental nickname rule that all appellations should be as individual as the riders to whom they are assigned. Thankfully, Merlins can be found flying at high altitude in the compact climber’s home state of Merida, so the little Venezuelan need never be confused with a lanky Dutchman ever again.

NAME: Ian Stannard
NICKNAME: The Iron Man
WHY: This one is based on a Dutch commentator’s mispronunciation of the GB hardman’s name, which he rendered as “Iron Stannard” over the tannoy at the 2012 World Road Race Championships in the Netherlands. And what better name than Iron Man to express the doughty domestique’s indefatigability? Like the titular character in Ted Hughes’ children’s story, he’s quite a tall fella and, as the shredded legs of his rivals can surely attest, he too leaves a trail of destruction in his wake.

NAME: Geraint Thomas
NICKNAME: G-Force
WHY: Speaking to Cycling magazine last month, Team Sky’s coaching guru Shane Sutton said of the young Welshman: “‘G’ has got it all. He can climb, time trial and last the distance.” In short, he’s a future Tour contender. He’s a force to be reckoned with. He is… G-Force.

NAME: Thomas Voeckler
NICKNAME: Le Mighty Bouche
WHY: The man with the quintessentially Gallic gob-shape is awarded a nickname which alludes to Britain’s most theatrical comedy act. He licks his supposedly dehydrated lips en route to taking the yellow jersey, he frowns as he toils up a mountain, and he beams on the podium like a delighted kid. Yes, in cycling, the legs do the talking – but in Voeckler’s case, so does his mouth.

The DYNAMITE! Five: The Tour de France, remixed. Issue #10

July 29, 2011

5 DOWN “Ablerto” Contador
It was the Tour where he revealed himself to be a mere mortal – but before Cadel and the Schlecks humbled him at high altitude, Alberto Contador’s godlike status seemed unimpeachable, particularly to the subeditors over at the Daily Telegraph. The penultimate paragraph of Brendan Gallagher’s pre-Pyrenees assessment refers to Bertie as “He” rather than “he”, and in keeping with each of the Gospels giving slightly differing accounts of the same events, the quotes from the man himself appear to be somewhat repetitive (“The stage went well, and that’s good news for my knee […] The stage went well, and that’s good news for my knee.”) And God only knows why he’s referred to as “Ablerto” in the picture caption. Heavens above!

4 UP (too far up) Shorts
The drama of stage nine, which saw plucky Thomas Voeckler take yellow after a car walloped Johnny Hoogerland into a barbed wire fence, overshadowed a far more serious development: shorts are becoming far too short. The two breakaway men have been sporting the high-up-the-thigh look for a while now, with Hoogerland eliciting an “ooh-look-at-you” stare from Riccardo Riccò back in January, and Voeckler’s appearance causing a teammate to bite his lip at the Tour’s opening ceremony. But now they’re bloody heroes, so expect to see your more impressionable mates wearing the sort of shorts that would make a speed skater blush. Oh, the indignity…

Courtesy of the lip-smacking cyclinginquisition.com


3 UP Nicknames
Some say “Bo-AH-son Hagen”, others “BWA-son Hagen”, whereas Mrs Dynamite, referencing the sort of films young Edvald’s home region is perhaps most famous for, prefers to pronounce it “Boobs-and-hard-on”. That always gets a laugh in our famous soundproof bunker, although it’s obviously far too rude to become common currency among less rakish cycling fans. Similarly, her name for a certain high-shorted Dutchman – “Johnny Sexylegs” – is unlikely to catch on now that the horrific image of his lacerated pins is indelibly etched on everyone’s mind. But The DYNAMITE! Files thinks it has stumbled on a nickname for Thomas Voeckler that can sit next to modern classics such as “Cuddles” and “SMASH”. The little Frenchman licked his lips en route to taking yellow, got a bit mouthy with Hoogerland’s Dutch fans booing him on Alpe d’Huez, and he has a quintessentially Gallic gob shape, so The DYNAMITE! Files shall henceforth refer to him as… Le Mighty Bouche.

2 UP Viewing figures
Terrible news for anyone still hoping that the Tour de France would remain a weird, esoteric sporting event: watching grown men suffer for three weeks has apparently become a ratings hit, with UK figures for the final stage almost equalling its 1980s Channel Four heyday. Snobs looking to defect to another pain-filled sport may want to try The Spartan Race, which apparently involves running through flames and tugging a boulder on a rope. Like, epic!

1 DOWN The points competition
As you might expect, this blog is overjoyed that Mark Cavendish, our favourite tweeting cycleperson, has finally claimed the emerald prize that should have been his two years ago. But as for the concept of the green jersey itself… well, it’s great that the competition is now weighted in favour of winning stages, but you can’t make intermediate sprints any less uninteresting by renaming them super intermediate sprints and throwing a few more points at them. And let’s be honest: how many fans actually know the number of points up for grabs in a stage anyway? It seems perverse that the competition featuring the fastest, most thrilling finishes should rely on a dull, arcane number-crunching system to decide the winner. So here’s a radical idea: ditch the intermediate sprints altogether, give the maillot vert to the rider who wins the most sprint stages, and call it the Stage Winners’ Jersey. If there’s a tie, the rider who has consistently finished the highest wins. Otherwise, the points competition is, well, a bit pointless.

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