Monikers of the Giants

Monikers of the Giants

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It only takes the most cursory glance through the Lexicon to realize that we have a special love for nicknames here at Velominati.  I’m not sure what it is that compels us to call things by some made-up name instead of the actual ones; it almost seems like we’re bragging that we know something well enough to screw up it’s moniker.  Which, of course, is ridiculous since in most cases we have no idea what we’re talking about.

We’re not alone in this absurd practice, however.  People the world over rush to attach a nickname to riders; The Cannibal, the Badger, Le Professeur, Il Pirata, Der Kaiser; fans seem frenetic in their quest to give their favorite riders a more meaningful label.  Sometimes the names stick, and sometimes they don’t.  Miguel Indurain is one of the riders with whom monikers didn’t seem to agree; iteration after iteration passed by with the adherance of Teflon, and really only after his career ended did the name “Big Mig” start to take purchase.

There definitely seems to be a correlation between the toughness of a rider and our desire to attach a label to them.  Fabian Cancellara is a good example of this, and his nickname of “Spartacus” is rather fitting.  By that logic, however, I struggle to understand why we don’t have a better nickname for Jens Voigt, commonly considered the hardest man in cycling.  Look at this picture: he’s dribbled Rule #5 concentrate all over his leg.  The closest we’ve come to a nickname is “Der Jens”, and – although I’m not arguing against gravitas of meriting a pronoun – I’m surprised that we seem to be better at coming up with nicknames for the objects he runs into than we are at coming up with one for him.

Maybe he’s just a little too mystical; a little too hard, a little too nice, to have a nickname stick.  In any case, I can appreciate the symbolism that his last name starts with the V.

// Nostalgia // Tradition

  1. Gents,

    You may be interested in this:

  2. @Steampunk
    “I get paid to hurt people. How good is that! I get paid to make other people suffer on my wheel, that is good.”

  3. @Marko

    Pah… nothing against the guy but I don’t buy into the worship.

    Honestly he’s never won much has he, for someone who is supposed to be The Hardest Man In The Peloton. OK he bossed the Criterium International but has he even made the podium in one of the Monuments ? In a 15 year career you’d expect THMITP to have fluked it at least once.

    My money would be on Stuart O’Grady in a mini-pump death-match. Finishing the Tour with a fractured vertebrae beats pulling out with a fractured cheekbone in my Top Trumps.

  4. @Marko
    Precisely. What’s not to like?

  5. @Dave Harding
    That guy has a haircut that would inextricably lead one into a life of bare-knuckle fighting.


  6. @ChrisO
    I think he got second in La Doyenne after a Kamakazi with Veino a couple years back. Although, I have to say, in a mini-pump fight, I think Stuey wouldn’t stand a chance, if only for JENS!’s superior reach.

    I assume he’ll be moving over to Team Lux-n-flux next year with the Grimps, which means he’ll be on a weaker team and have freedom to rock it. He’s said many times that he asks before every race if he can go in a break, and Riis usually says, “no”. That’s a tough position to win from.

  7. @Brett
    I may be on the other side of the world (York, at present) and hampered in my ability to send long emails, but I am not prepared to let an opportunity like that go begging: Brett, you’re a COTHO. Jens not hard enough, not worthy of worship? Sheeit. When I get back, and have worked off the many kilos that stodgy food and warm ales are adding to my frame, I am coming for you, mofo …

  8. @G’Phant

    Oh no, I’m being threatened from the other side of the world by a helmet mirror-wearing, frame pump-weilding, compact-riding lawyer! A Kiwi at that!


    Yep, I’d have Stuey on my side any day; and he’d be on the beers for added aggression, like any true freckled bloodnut Aussie!

  9. Said it before. Jens ain’t all that. But gotta respect him now after that crash last year. I’d have taken that as my cue to retire.

  10. Hahah! Rule #5 Concentrate. Did you steal that from my Lance Theory?

  11. as you might know VOIGT is a different spelling from VOGT
    “Voigt” say it all. No need for another nickname.

  12. “He is also wonderfully outspoken, entertaining, and humble.”

    Yep, beyond his hardness (or lack of it, as some of you see it), this is what makes me appreciate and cheer for him. So many professional athletes are these stiff, curt, unlikeable characters with nothing to say but spit out a string of cliches. Jens (JENS!) is funny, gives good interviews, and seemingly loves riding a bike for a living. He’s been doing it for years now, but he still seems to have a good time and can smile and laugh. That’s what I really like about him. Heck, half of the people I ride group rides with could take a cue from him and loosen up and have more fun cycling.

    I like just calling him R5.

  13. Class act… pretty rare these days.

    His constant smile and upbeat attitude have to drive some of the other riders crazy. I would certainly be annoyed. Imagine chasing him for four plus hours, you are spent, dirty, hungry, grumpy, you name it, and this joker Jens is smiling and laughing away like it was just a ride in the park. Everyone knows somebody like that and depending on your mood you just want to throttle them from time to time.

    “You’ve got all the blood in your legs and nothing in your brain.” Funny shit.

  14. Anybody notice that the new Cervelo is called an R5? Coincidence? I think not.

  15. @Omar
    Ha! Yeah, I think so; I couldn’t remember where that came from but knew I’d seen it somewhere. Although the definition here is slightly different from yours, I suppose, which focussed on the berries.


    Overlord exerting guardianship or military protection

    It’s perfect! He’s totally the Schleck’s bodyguard!

    @Ron, @Cyclops

    Ron: I like just calling him R5.

    Cyclops: Anybody notice that the new Cervelo is called an R5? Coincidence? I think not.

    Indeed an interesting intervention of the Velominati Ethos. I never thought I’d covet another bike, but I may need to make an exception here.

    Ah, the “undownable upper” can be a frustrating thing. Sometimes, I just need people to be pissed off along with me.

  16. Looks like Der Jens will dishing it out at least one more season.

    “I laid there for a second on the ground and said, ‘Fuck that hurts,’ and then, ‘Fuck, I’m going to get up, I’m going to get up, I’m not going to let this happen because to abandon the Tour for me leaves a bad taste, like I’m a failure. You’re not there for your teammates, you’re one working piece left for the boys.”

    And lastly, “It’s not getting easier with the age,” he said. “But let me put it this way: I’m going to be the last person to give it up for free. They’ve got to ride faster than me. It’s not a question of age, it’s a question of quality.”

    The German joked that he had “quite successfully stopped the aging process. Anytime the age creeps up on me and hits me on the ass, I turn around and kick it back for another year.”

    Damn straight!

  17. pakrat :The German joked that he had “quite successfully stopped the aging process. Anytime the age creeps up on me and hits me on the ass, I turn around and kick it back for another year.”

    Beauty: Age crept up on Jens, but Jens attacked and dropped it.

  18. @pakrat, @Steampunk
    I’ve been buried in a pit of “working my ass off” for a day and come back to this. Merckx, I love all you guys. I feel like Jens rejoining the grupetto. Like that, except a big pussy.

  19. Have you seen this? Click the photo or refresh the page.

  20. @michael

    Have you seen this? Click the photo or refresh the page.

    Chuck Norris wears Jens Voigt pajamas and Sharks have a Jens Voigt Week. Priceless.

  21. The 12 minutes of interview Jens has in the movie Chasing Legends is worth the purchase price alone. He puts things in perspective perfectly.
    I don’t know of anyone else in cycling as popular. Everyone you speak to has an opinion on Jens and it’s always – ALWAYS – a strong positive.
    Just think – we have been alive, with a cycling conscience, in a time of this guy. We will tell our kids about Jens, and we will tell them fondly.
    We need more guys like this. I hope he becomes a commentator when he retires in a few years. That would be the best gift he could give back to us.

  22. Man, I love the random articles feature. I brought me back to this. JENS will be back for another year, that 4 years after this article. So much for this comment below. JENS is still bringing the pain in a big V!


    Said it before. Jens ain’t all that. But gotta respect him now after that crash last year. I’d have taken that as my cue to retire.

    Yes, you would have retired. Because you are not JENS.


  23. Sorry 3 years*** I just got excited about JENS.

  24. You are what you eat. Jens Voigt eats spring steel for breakfast, fire for lunch, and a mixture of titanium and carbon fiber for dinner. For between-meal snacks he eats men’s souls, and downs it with a tall cool glass of The Milk of Human Suffering.

  25. I’m way late to the game, but for my money – especially after his stage win at the Tour of Cal. this last May and his Hard Man comment: “I am motherfucking Jens Voigt! Of course they not gonna catch me!” – his nickname is obvious. He has honor, integrity, humility, limitless good cheer, raw cunning, tremendous skill, incredible reserves of strength and talent, and more than a few great wins. A century ago, he’d be an ace in the Flying Circus. A millennium ago, he’d be one of Charlemagne’s knights, the hero of a thousand tales. So, to me, Jens Voigt is The Paladin.

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