Early 20th journalists started creating nicknames for the cyclists. This effort popularized the cycling sport and make the racers interesting to the people who were not interested in cycling much. This tradition is still continuing today. Here the list of cyclists’ nicknames in alphabetical order (by surname, starting with S):
By Surname: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W
Considered one of cycling’s greatest talents, Peter Sagan is nicknamed “Tourminator” and “Hulk”.
He won an incredible five stages, the first four stages in-a-row, in the Tour of California 2012 edition. So the Cannondale Factory Racing Team gave him the nickname “Terminator” as a result of his power and strength.
This success led to a bet between Peter Sagan and Rory Mason (Cannondale’s Sports marketing director): “If Sagan wins another stage, the Terminator bike would be waiting for him”. All he had to do was win a stage at the Tour de France to claim it, and he successfully did with a fearless finish on the first stage, and also in his first ever Tour de France stage. The Slovakian rode the rest of the Tour on his very personalized Cannondale “tourminator“. So, the nickname Terminator evolved into “Tourminator”.
At the 2012 Tour de France, he won another two stages (Stage 3 with “Forrest Gump” style and Stage 6, “Hulk” style – hence the second nickname) with his “tourminator” bike, and won the green jersey after all.
Giuseppe Santhià (19 January 1886 – 18 February 1978) was an Italian racing cyclist who won three stages in the Giro d’Italia (1911 – stage 6, 1913 – stage 1 & 3). He also won the 1914 Giro del Piemonte. He was nicknamed “Pinot”.
“Fucilata di Goodwood” (“Goodwood rifle-shot”)
Born on 22 Sep 1957, Giuseppe Saronni was a frequent winner: during his career, between 1977 and 1989, he won 193 races. His major wins are:
General classification (1979, 1983)
Points classification (1979, 1980, 1981, 1983)
24 individual stages
Vuelta a España
6 Individual stages
Tour de Suisse (1982)
Tour de Romandie (1979)
Tirreno–Adriatico (1978, 1982)
One-day races and Classics
World Road Race Championships (1982)
National Road Race Championships (1980)
Milan–San Remo (1983)
La Flèche Wallonne (1980)
Giro di Lombardia (1982)
In 1982 Giuseppe Saronni won the World Cycling Championship at Goodwood, England, beating Greg LeMond. His final sprint was so impressive that it gained him the nickname of “Fucilata di Goodwood” (Goodwood rifle-shot) (see the video below).
“Il Falco” (“the falcon”)
Savoldelli (born 7 May 1973 in Clusone, province of Bergamo) won the Giro d’Italia twice (2002 and 2005). He also won a stage in the Tour de France (2005), four stages in the Giro d’Italia (1999, 2005, 2006, 2007) and also won the Combination classification of the Italian grand tour in 2006. His other stage race victories were Tour de Romandie (2000) and Giro del Trentino (today the Tour of the Alps, 1998, 1999).
He was a climber but also a perfect descender. He earned the nickname “Il Falco” (“the falcon”) for his excellent descending skills, which won him the 2005 Giro d’Italia: his descent of the Colle delle Finestre before the final ascent to Sestriere in the penultimate stage, closed a gap to Gilberto Simoni, preserving his lead and giving him the win.
“Ijzeren Briek” (“Iron Briek”)
Alberic “Briek” Schotte (born Kanegem, West Flanders, 7 September 1919 – died Kortrijk, 4 April 2004) was a Belgian cyclist. He was twice world champion (1948, 1950). He also won the last stage of the 1947 Tour de France and finished second in the epic 1948 Tour, behind Gino Bartali.
He was a classics specialist: twice won the Tour of Flanders (1942, 1948), Paris–Tours (1946, 1947) and Paris–Brussels (1946, 1952). He also won the inaugural Challenge Desgrange-Colombo, a season-long competition to identify the world’s best road rider, in 1948.
After retirement in 1959, he was a team coach for 30 years, mostly for Flandria, the Belgian professional cycling team that existed from 1957 to 1979. He died on the day of the 2004 Tour of Flanders. The commentators during the race said “God must have been one of Briek’s greatest fans”.
Briek Schotte’s incredible stamina earned him the nickname “Iron Briek” (Ijzeren Briek).
“Il Pittone” (Python)
Luca Scinto (b. 1968) is a retired Italian cyclist. He was a professional between 1994 and 2002. He won Gran Premio Città di Camaiore (1995), Giro di Toscana (1999) and the general classification of Tour de Langkawi (1997). Since 2009, he is the Directeur sportif of the professional continental team Wilier Triestina–Selle Italia (previously known as ISD–Neri, Farnese Vini–Neri Sottoli, Farnese Vini–Selle Italia, Vini Fantini–Selle Italia, Yellow Fluo, Neri Sottoli, Neri Sottoli-Alé, Southeast Pro Cycling, Southeast-Venezuela, Wilier Triestina-Southeast).
He is nicknamed “Il Pittone” (Python).
“Vlaamse Pijl” (The Flemish Arrow), “Le Roi des 6 Jours” (The King of Six Days)
Patrick Sercu (born 27 June 1944) is a retired Belgian cyclist who was active on the road and track between 1961 and 1983. On track, he won the gold medal in the 1 km time trial at the 1964 Summer Olympics, as well as three world titles in the sprint, in 1963, 1967 and 1969. On the road, he earned the green jersey in the 1974 Tour de France. Sercu is the record holder for the number of six-day track race victories – which earned him the nicknames “Vlaamse Pijl” (The Flemish Arrow) and “Le Roi des 6 Jours” (The King of Six Days): having won 88 events out of 223 starts between 1961 and 1983; several of these wins were with cycling great Eddy Merckx. He also won six stages at the Tour de France and eleven stages at the Giro d’Italia.
“El Niño” (The kid)
Spanish climber Óscar Miguel Sevilla Ribera (born 29 September 1976) has finished in the top ten of the Tour de France and Vuelta a España several times. He was nicknamed “El Niño” (The kid).
Former Italian cyclist Gilberto Simoni (born 25 August 1971) is the twice winner of the Giro d’Italia (2001, 2003).He also won the points classification of the Italian grand tour in 2003 along with 8 individual stages (2000-2007). He won a stage in the Tour de France in 2003 and two stages in the Vuelta a España (2000, 2001). His other major wins are: Giro del Trentino (2003), Japan Cup (2001) and Giro dell’Emilia (2000, 2005). He was nicknamed “Gibo”.
Nicknamed “Spud”, François Simon (born October 28, 1968 at Troyes, France) is a former French professional road bicycle racer. In the 2001 Tour de France, Simon wore the maillot jaune for three days and finished as best French finisher in that Tour. Other career highlights include a stage win in the 1992 Giro d’Italia, two stage wins in the Tour de l’Avenir, stage wins in Circuit de la Sarthe, Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré and Paris–Nice as well as being road race champion of France in 1999.
“Mister Tom”, “Major Simpson”, “four-stone Coppi”, “the Sparrow”
One of Britain’s most successful cyclists of all-time, Tom Simpson (30 November 1937 – 13 July 1967) won World Road Race Championships in 1965. He was good at classics, having won Tour of Flanders in 1961, Bordeaux–Paris in 1963, Milan–San Remo in 1964 and Giro di Lombardia (today Il Lombardia) in 1965. He also won the Paris–Nice in 1967 and two individual stages at the Vualta a España in 1967.
In the 13th stage of 1967 Tour de France, he collapsed and died during the ascent of Mont Ventoux.
Tom Simpson had many nicknames. One of them was “Mister Tom”. When he was a teenager, members of his cycling club nicknamed him “four-stone Coppi”, after Italian rider Fausto Coppi, due to his slim physique.
In September 1956, Simpson competed for two weeks in Eastern Europe against Russian and Italian teams to prepare for the Olympics. He was nicknamed “the Sparrow” by the Soviet press because of his slender build.
In August 1959, he competed at the world championships in the 5000 m individual pursuit in Amsterdam. He placed fourth in the individual pursuit, losing by 0.3 seconds in the quarter-finals. He prepared for the 180 mi (290 km) road race, eight laps of the track. After 45 mi (72 km) a ten-rider breakaway formed; Simpson bridged the gap. As the peloton began to close in, he tried to attack. Although he was brought back each time, Simpson placed fourth in a sprint for the best finish to date by a British rider. He was praised by the winner, André Darrigade of France, who thought that without Simpson’s work on the front, the breakaway would have been caught. Darrigade helped him enter criteriums for extra money. His fourth place earned Simpson his nickname, “Major Simpson”, from French sports newspaper L’Équipe. They ran the headline: “Les carnets du Major Simpson” (“The notes of Major Simpson”), referencing the 1950s series of books, Les carnets du Major Thompson by Pierre Daninos.
“El Lancero” (The Lancer)
Juan Mauricio Soler Hernández (born January 14, 1983) is a Colombian former professional cyclist, who last rode for UCI WorldTour team Movistar Team. He won a stage at the 2007 Tour de France and won the KOM jersey. He also won Circuit de Lorraine in 2006 and a Stage at the 2011 Tour de Suisse.
While competing in the 2011 Tour de Suisse, where he won a stage, on Thursday 16 June 2011, he crashed heavily early in the stage six. While descending, he hit a small raised piece of curbing from an adjacent foot path at a speed of approximately 80 km/h. He hit a spectator and was thrown into a solid fence.
Due to his heavy injuries (a fractured skull, a cerebral edema, other fractures and hematomas), he was placed in a medically induced coma. On 8 July 2011 his condition had stabilized enough for him to be moved to Spain.
After returning Colombia on January 2012, he started training but he was still weak and easily fatigued. On July 17, 2012, he announced that he retired from the professional cycling.
Soler was nicknamed “El Lancero” (The Lancer).