Early 20th journalists started creating nicknames for cyclists. This effort popularized the cycling sport and make the racers interesting to people who were not interested in cycling much. This tradition is still continuing today. Here is the list of cyclists’ nicknames in alphabetical order (by surname, starting with P):
Il Pirata (The Pirate), Elefantino (Baby elephant)
Marco Pantani (13 January 1970 – 14 February 2004) was an Italian road racing cyclist, widely regarded as the greatest climber in the history of the sport.
In 1998, Pantani won both the Tour de France and the Giro d’Italia (Le Grand Boucle) and became the last cyclist, and one of only seven, to win the Giro and the Tour in the same year. Others were: Fausto Coppi (1949 and 1952), Jacques Anquetil (1964), Eddy Merckx (1970, 1972, and 1974), Bernard Hinault (1982 and 1985), Stephen Roche (1987), and Miguel Indurain (1992 and 1993).
He was also sixth Italian after Ottavio Bottecchia, Gino Bartali, Fausto Coppi, Felice Gimondi, and Gastone Nencini to win the Tour de France.
He was nicknamed “Il Pirata” (English: “The Pirate”) because of his shaven head and the bandana and earrings he wore.
Also because of his ears and his small stature (1.72 meters or 5.6 ft and 57 kilograms or 126 lb), he was nicknamed Elefantino (Baby elephant), which he strongly disliked.
El Cóndor de los Andes (The Condor of the Andes)
Fabio Parra (born November 22, 1959) is a former Colombian road racing cyclist. He was a successful climber. He won 2 individual stages at the Tour de France (1985, 1988, in 1985 he also won the best young rider jersey) and 3 individual stages at the Vuelta a España (1988, 1991, 1992). He also won his home stage race, Vuelta a Colombia twice (1981, 1992).
Parra’s nickname was El Cóndor de los Andes (The Condor of the Andes).
L’avvocato (The Lawyer)
Eberardo Pavesi (2 November 1883 – 11 November 1974) was an Italian road racing cyclist and sports executive. Professional in the pioneering era of cycling (also known as the “heroes” era), from 1904 to 1919, he won four stages at the Giro d’Italia and the final classification of the Giro d’Italia 1912 (when it was organized as a team race for the only time in history).
Remembered as an intelligent and extroverted character, but also a skilled storyteller, he was nicknamed “Avocatt” (“l’avvocato” in Milanese, which means “the lawyer”).
Pello, Delfino di Bibione (The Dolphin of Bibione)
Franco Pellizotti (born 15 January 1978) is an Italian former professional road bicycle racer, who rode professionally between 2001 and 2018. He was a strong climber.
Pellizotti is nicknamed Delfino di Bibione (The Dolphin of Bibione). Bibione is the town where he lived until 2002. It is a comune and a seaside resort of San Michele al Tagliamento, in the Metropolitan City of Venice, Veneto, northern Italy.
Italian sprinter Alessandro Petacchi (born 3 January 1974) was a professional between 1996 and 2015. A super-fast finisher, he won a total of 48 grand tour stages (22 at the Giro d’Italia, 20 at the Vuelta a España, and 6 at the Tour de France).
He also won Points classifications in all grand tours: Giro d’Italia in 2004, Vuelta a España in 2005, and Tour de France in 2010.
Petacchi also won Milan-San Remo in 2005, Paris-Tours in 2007, and Scheldeprijs in 2009.
Alessandro Petacchi is nicknamed Ale-Jet for apparent reasons.
“Thor”, “The Cash Register”
Davis Phinney (born July 10, 1959) is a retired professional road bicycle racer from the United States. He won 328 races in the 1980s and 1990s, a record for an American, including two Tour de France stages. He has worked in media since retiring as a professional cyclist.
He was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease at age 40.
Davis Phinney is the husband of the first female Olympic cycling champion (1984 was the first year women’s cycling was part of the Olympics), Connie-Carpenter Phinney, and the father of Taylor Phinney, another successful retired cyclist.
Davis Phinney was nicknamed “Thor” and “The Cash Register”. The latter was given most probably for him winning a lot of races.
The Bowler (Baslot), The Cyclone of Boca, The Smasher (La Spacca)
Domenico Piemontesi (11 January 1903 – 1 June 1987) was an Italian professional road bicycle racer. He won 12 individual stages in the Giro d’Italia. He won the 1933 Giro di Lombardia (today’s Il Lombardia) and the 1932 Tre Valli Varesine. He also won the bronze medal at the 1927 UCI World Championships.
Piemontesi also won the 1930 Giro di Lombardia, but was disqualified for irregularities in the sprint, and won again in 1933, finishing second in 1932 and 1934. He participated twice in the Tour de France but retired on both occasions before the end of the race.
Together with Learco Guerra (nicknamed the Human Locomotive), he won the Giro della Provincia di Milano time trial in 1936. His were also the following Italian rankings: Tre Valli Varesine of 1932, Giro dell’Emilia and Milan-Modena of 1927.
He won a silver medal at the 1927 Italian Championship.
Nicknamed “the Cyclone of Boca”, his fighting temperament found expression in the saying “either the go or the split” which is still associated with him in the world of cycling.
He was then sporting director of riders such as Fornara and Gastone Nencini.
Piemontesi died in 1987 and the body is now buried at the cemetery of Boca, a comune (municipality) in the Province of Novara in the Italian region Piedmont, located about 90 kilometers (56 mi) northeast of Turin and about 30 kilometers (19 mi) northwest of Novara.
L’Ingegnere (The Engineer), Il Professore (The Professor)
Italian cyclist Marco Pinotti (born 25 February 1976 in Osio Sotto, Lombardy) competed as a professional between 1999 and 2013. A strong time-trialist, he was a six-time Italian Time Trial Champion (2005, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013).
Pinotti also won two individual stages (2008, 2012) and two time-trial stages (2009, 2011) at the Giro d’Italia, his home grand tour.
Pinotti graduated in Management Engineering, so he was nicknamed L’Ingegnere (The Engineer) and Il Professore (The Professor).
Die Kleine (The small one)
Eddy Planckaert (born 22 September 1958 in Nevele) is a former Belgian professional road racing cyclist. He was a sprinter and a classics specialist. He won Omloop Het Volk twice (1984, 1985), Tour de France green jersey in 1988, Ronde van Vlaanderen (Tour of Flanders) in 1988, and Paris-Roubaix in 1990.
Planckaert was nicknamed Die Kleine (The small one).
“La Flecha Amarilla” (the Yellow Arrow)
Miguel Poblet Orriols (18 March 1928 – 6 April 2013) was a Spanish professional cyclist. He had over 200 professional victories from 1944 to 1962.
Poblet was the first Spanish rider to wear the yellow jersey in the Tour de France in 1955, and in 1956 he became the first of only three riders to win stages in the three Grand Tours in the same year.
He won 20 individual stages at the Giro d’Italia, and 3 individual stages at the Tour de France and Vuelta a España (each).
Poblet was also twice winner of the Milan-San Remo (1957, 1959) and Volta a Catalunya (1952, 1960).
Miguel Poblet was nicknamed “La Flecha Amarilla” (the Yellow Arrow) due to the yellow kit of his Ignis team.
“The Eternal Second”, “Pou-Pou”
Raymond Poulidor (15 April 1936 – 13 November 2019) was a French professional racing cyclist. He rode for Mercier his entire career.
Poulidor was nicknamed “The Eternal Second” because he never won the Tour de France despite finishing in second place three times and in third place five times (including his final Tour at the age of 40).
Poulidor won the Vuelta a España in 1964 and that was the only grand tour he won, despite being a more capable rider who could win several grand tours.
This is because his professional career coincided with two great riders, Jacques Anquetil and Eddy Merckx.
Poulidor won 7 individual stages at the Tour de France. He also won Critérium International four times (1964, 1966, 1968, 1971-72), Critérium du Dauphiné Libéré twice (1966, 1969), Paris-Nice twice (1972-73), Milan-San Remo (1961), La Flèche Wallonne (1963), and Grand Prix des Nations (1963).
Dr. Pozzovivo, La pulce di Policoro (The flea from Policoro), Il lupo dello Jonio (The wolf of the Ionian), Dom-Dom
Domenico Pozzovivo (born 30 November 1982) is an Italian professional road racing cyclist. A climbing specialist, He is most known for a victory in stage 8 of the 2012 Giro d’Italia, an overall victory in the 2012 Giro del Trentino, and is notable for his educational attainments.
as a degree in economics and wrote a thesis entitled “Southern politics from the unity of Italy up to the present day”. His educational attainments have earned him the nickname “Dr. Pozzovivo” in the peloton.
His other nicknames are La pulce di Policoro (The flea from Policoro, because of his small stature), Il lupo dello Jonio (The wolf of the Ionian), and Dom-Dom.
- Marco Pantani on Wikipedia
- Miguel Poblet on Wikipedia
- Raymond Poulidor on Wikipedia
- Domenico Pozzovivo on Wikipedia
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