Today’s newsflash is that Mark Cavendish doesn’t want a nickname. How do we know? Simple – Cav told us in Brioude this morning.
“I don’t want one,” he said between bantering with Columbia boss Bob Stapleton about who’s the best-looking rider in the peloton, and reluctantly concluding that it wasn’t him. “I don’t even like ‘Cannonball’,” he continued. “If you have a nickname, you just get the piss taken out of you in the peloton. That’s what happens with Riccò.”
The cobra, riccardo ricco.: the cobra, riccardo ricco. PATRICK HERTZOG/AFP/Getty Images
The Cobra, Riccardo Riccò, uses his poisonous tongue whenever possible
Er, that’s ‘The Cobra’ to you, Mark, but we take your point, even if it won’t put the kibosh on our private competition to come up with a new moniker and make it stick before the end of the Tour. Already, my colleague Richard Moore of The Scotsman, has fashioned the ingenious jeu de mots ‘Cavenball’. Ingenious except that Cavendish thought it was rubbish, as did we.
William Fotheringham of The Guardian has laid claim to every cycling nickname from ‘il Campionissimo’ to ‘Big Mig’, but even Fothers is stumped this time. “Er, what about the Scouse fella from “Lock, Stock…” ventured the self-styled doyen of the Brit press pack this afternoon. Raised eyebrows and stoney silence ensued.
Bernhard kohl, aka jay z.: bernhard kohl, aka jay z. FRANCK FIFE/AFP/Getty Images
‘Yo! What’up, Jay-zizzle?’
I must confess that my attempts thus far have been equally lame. Perhaps I’m still too smug about my semi-successful campaign to obtain universal uptake for ‘Grim’ Kim Kirchen. For the record, I’m also demanding credit for Franco ‘Bunny Boiler’ Pellizotti (Glenn Close in Fatal Attraction, anyone?), not to mention Bernhard ‘Jay-Z’ Kohl.
Sadly, the chances of those riders ever appearing on the front page of The Guardian, as Cavendish did on Thursday, are not so much slim as anorexic.
The Scouse accent, the quick legs and quick tongue, that passing resemblance to Red Dwarf’s Craig Charles…there’s plenty there to work with. But for now we’re all drawing blanks. At this rate Cavendish’s wish might well be granted.
Alas, I’d appreciate suggestions emailed to me as soon as possible. Style points for creativity!
My Top Ten existing Tour nicknames:
1. Jay-Z (Bernhard Kohl)
2. Grim Kim (Kirchen)
3. The Dandy (David Millar)
4. The Cobra (Riccardo Riccò)
5. Spartacus (Fabian Cancellara)
6. Valv.Piti (I couldn’t possibly say)
7. Uncle Fester (Magnus Backstedt)
8. Cuddles (Cadel Evans)
9. The President (Carlos da Cruz – now retired but in the pressroom)
10. The Little Prince (Damiano Cunego)
For more of Friebe’s prose, in audio, visit BikeRadar’s Tour de France podcasts every day.