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 is the list of cyclists’ nicknames in alphabetical order (by surname, starting with T):
Il Gladiatore (The Gladiator), Il Taffone
Andrea Tafi (born 7 May 1966 in Fucecchio) raced as a classics specialist. Tafi specialized in the cobbled Spring Classics such as Paris-Roubaix which he won in 1999, and Tour of Flanders which he won in 2002. He won the Giro di Lombardia in 1996 and the Italian National Championship in 1998.
His main victories are: National Road Race Championship (1998), Giro di Lombardia (1996), Paris-Roubaix (1999), Tour of Flanders (2002), Grand Prix de Fourmies (1994, 1997), Paris-Bruxelles (1996), Wincanton Classic (1997), Giro del Piemonte (1999) and Paris-Tours (2000).
The Italian rider was nicknamed “Il Gladiatore” (The Gladiator) because of his aggressive riding style in hard races like spring classics.
Le basset (The Basset Hound)
Philippe Thys (Dutch: Philippe Thĳs; 8 October 1889 – 16 January 1971) was a Belgian cyclist and the first triple winner of the Tour de France (1913, 1914, 1920). Thys also rode in the 1922 Tour, winning five stages, and in the 1924 Tour, winning two stages.
Thys also won the Giro di Lombardia in 1917 and Paris-Tours twice (1917, 1918).
He was nicknamed “Le basset” (The Basset Hound) because, like a basset, his body was short on legs, and, as a bonus, he was low on his machine.
Thys was one of a generation of cyclists whose careers were disrupted by the First World War. After retiring, he recalled that he had been asked by his manager, Alphonse Baugé, to wear a yellow jersey as leader of the Tour, although that distinction is more commonly attributed to Eugène Christophe.
The Czar (The Tsar)
Pavel Sergeyevich Tonkov (born February 9, 1969, in Izhevsk, former Soviet Union) was a very talented rider even at a very young age: he won the world junior title as part of the Soviet Union team in 1987.
He get his best results at the Giro d’Italia: he won the young rider Classification (1992, 1993) before eventually winning the Italian grand tour in 1996. He also won 7 stages between 1996 and 2004.
He also won two stages in the Vuelta a España (1997). His other major stage race victories were Tour de Suisse in 1995 and Tour de Romandie in 1997.
Throughout much of his career, he was a client of the controversial Michele Ferrari.
During his career, he was nicknamed The Czar (The Tsar) for obvious reasons.
The Flea of Torrelavega
Vicente Trueba Pérez (October 16, 1905 – November 10, 1986) was a Spanish professional road racing cyclist. He was the first winner of the “King of the Mountains” prize in the Tour de France (1933).
Trueba was nicknamed “The Flea of Torrelavega” because of his small build and “jumping” attacking style. He was an extraordinary climber but a very bad descender, so he didn’t win anything big during his career.
- Philippe Thys on Wikipedia
- Andrea Tafi on Wikipedia
- Vicente Trueba on Wikipedia
- Pavel Tonkov on Wikipedia
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