Early 20th journalists started creating nicknames for the 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 S):
The Terminator, Rambo, The Tourminator, Peter The Great, Three-Pete
Peter Sagan (born 26 January 1990) is a Slovak cyclist. He is a triple UCI Road World Champion (2015, 2016, and 2017).
His major wins include:
Tour de France
- Points classification (2012-2016, 2018, 2019)
- Combativity award (2016)
- 12 individual stages (2012, 2013, 2016-2019)
- Points classification (2021)
- 2 individual stages (2020, 2021)
Vuelta a España
4 individual stages (2011, 2015)
- Tour de Pologne (2011)
- Tour of California (2015)
One-day races and Classics
- World Road Race Championships (2015, 2016, 2017)
- European Road Race Championships (2016)
- National Road Race Championships (2011-2015, 2018, 2021)
- National Time Trial Championships (2015)
- Tour of Flanders (2016)
- Paris-Roubaix (2018)
- Gent-Wevelgem (2013, 2016, 2018)
- E3 Harelbeke (2014)
- GP de Montréal (2013)
- GP de Québec (2016, 2017)
- Kuurne-Brussels-Kuurne (2017)
- Brabantse Pijl (2013)
Peter Sagan is nicknamed The Terminator, Rambo, The Tourminator, Peter The Great, Three-Pete (a reference to his three consecutive UCI Road World Championship titles.
Giuseppe Santhià (19 January 1886 – 18 February 1978) was an Italian racing cyclist. Professional from 1909 to 1923, he achieved his main success at the 1914 Giro del Piemonte (since 2009 also known as the Gran Piemonte, a semi-classic bicycle race held in the Apennine Mountains, Italy), won after a solitary escape of 53 km. He participated nine times in the Giro d’Italia, winning three stages.
La fucilata di Goodwood – “the gunshot of Goodwood”
Born in Novara, Piedmont, Italian former cyclist Saronni turned professional in 1977. During his career, which lasted until 1989, he won 193 races. He won the Giro d’Italia twice.
In Italy, he gave birth to a famous rivalry with Francesco Moser, like those of Alfredo Binda with Learco Guerra, and Fausto Coppi with Gino Bartali. He competed in the team pursuit event at the 1976 Summer Olympics.
In 1982 he won the World Cycling Championship at Goodwood, England, beating American Greg LeMond and Irishman Sean Kelly. His final sprint was so impressive that it gained him the nickname of La fucilata di Goodwood – “the gunshot of Goodwood”.
Saronni’s major wins include:
- General classification (1979, 1983)
- Points classification (1979, 1980, 1981, 1983)
- 24 individual stages (1978-1983, 1985)
- 3 TTT stages (1985, 1986, 1988)
Vuelta a España
2 Individual stages (1983)
- 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)
- Züri-Metzgete (1979)
- Giro di Lombardia (1982)
Il Falco (“The Falcon”), Babyface
Paolo Savoldelli (born 7 May 1973 in Clusone, province of Bergamo) is a former Italian road racing cyclist. He won the Giro d’Italia twice (2002, 2005).
Savoldelli was nicknamed “Il Falco” (the Falcon) because of the downhill skills that won him the 2005 Giro.
Savoldelli’s major wins include:
Tour de France
1 individual stage (2005)
- General classification (2002, 2005)
- Combination classification (2006)
- 4 individual stages (1999, 2005, 2006, 2007)
- Tour de Romandie (2000)
- Giro del Trentino (1998, 1999)
IJzeren Briek (Iron Briek)
Alberic “Briek” Schotte (born Kanegem, West Flanders, 7 September 1919 – died Kortrijk, 4 April 2004) was a Belgian professional road racing cyclist, one of the champions of the 1940s and 1950s.
He was world champion in 1948 and 1950, won the last stage of the 1947 Tour de France, and finished second in the epic 1948 Tour, behind Gino Bartali. He twice won the Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen) (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. He holds the record with 20 consecutive participations in the Tour of Flanders and in addition to his two victories made the podium on six other occasions.
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 stamina earned him the nickname “Iron Briek” (IJzeren Briek).
Vlaamse Pijl (The Flemish Arrow)
Patrick Sercu (27 June 1944 – 19 April 2019) was a Belgian cyclist. He began his career as a great track sprinter, winning the world amateur title in 1963, the Olympic Gold for the kilometer time trial in 1964, and the world pro sprint in 1967 and 1969, with second places in 1965 and 1968.
He set indoor world records for 1 kilometer with a flying start of 1 minute 1.23 seconds in 1967 and with a standing start of 1 minute 7.35 seconds in 1972, and an outdoor kilometer record of 1 minute 2.46 seconds in 1973.
Later in his career, he finished the Tour de France twice and was a points winner in 1974.
But he will be remembered as one of the greatest six-day racers ever, as from 1964 to 1983 he won a record 88 of 233 such races contested with several different partners. Because of his blistering speed, he was nicknamed “The Flemish Arrow”.
Sercu coached the Belgian Olympic team in 1984. His father Albert won the “Het Volk” and was second in the world professional road race in 1947.
Il Pitone (The Python)
Luca Scinto (born 28 January 1968 in Fucecchio) is an Italian former cyclist. Professional between 1994 and 2002, he was a domestique during his career. He won Tour de Langkawi general classification in 1997, along with mountains classification, points classification, and a stage.
He also won Gran Premio Industria e Commercio Artigianato Carnaghese in 1993, Gran Premio Città di Camaiore and Tour de Berne in 1995, Giro di Toscana in 1999, and UNIQA Classic in 2000. He retired from cycling in 2002.
His nickname is Il Pitone (The Python), because, in nature, pythons are very combative.
El Niño (The kid)
Óscar Sevilla (born 1976) is a former Spanish-Colombian professional cyclist. He was nicknamed El Niño (the kid).
Gibo, Aquila di Palu di Giovo (The Eagle of Palu di Giovo)
Gilberto Simoni (born 25 August 1971 in Palù di Giovo, Trentino) is an Italian former cyclist. He was a climbing specialist and won the Giro d’Italia twice (2001, 2003).
He won stages in all three grand tours, one stage in the Tour de France (2003), 8 stages in the Giro d’Italia (2000-2004 and 2007), and 2 stages in the Vuelta a España (2000, 2001).
Thomas Simpson (30 November 1937 – 13 July 1967) was one of Britain’s most successful professional cyclists.
Simpson became the UCI World Champion in 1965. He also won the Tour of Flanders (Ronde van Vlaanderen) in 1961, Bordeaux-Paris in 1963, Milan-San Remo in 1964, and Giro di Lombardia in 1965.
Simpson won two stages in 1967 Vuelta a España.
During the 1959 UCI Road World Champi̇onshi̇ps, after 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 the French writer and humorist Pierre Daninos (26 May 1913 – 7 January 2005).
In the 13th stage of the 1967 Tour de France, Simpson collapsed and died during the ascent of Mont Ventoux. He was 29 years old.
Related: Remembering Tom Simpson
P’tit Sim, Spud
François Simon (born October 28, 1968, in Troyes, France) is a French former professional road bicycle racer. He was a professional from 1991 to 2002.
In the 2001 Tour de France, Simon wore the yellow jersey as leader of the general classification for three days and finished as the 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
- Road race champion of France in 1999.
El Lancero (The Lancer)
Mauricio Soler (born January 14, 1983, in Ramiriquí, Boyacá) is a Colombian former professional road bicycle racer.
He competed in the Tour de France for the first time in 2007 and won stage 9, a 159.5 km mountain stage from Val-d’Isère to Briançon. He broke away on the Col du Galibier. He also won that year’s King of the Mountains (KOM) title and finished 11th overall.
On Thursday 16 June 2011, early in stage six of the Tour de Suisse, he crashed heavily. Later, in 2012, he announced his retirement from professional cycling, due to his overall health problems after the crash.