“It was Danish Dynamite,” says beaming Jumbo-Visma manager Richard Plugge. The Dutchman pulls down his mask briefly to flash his pearly whites to the camera crews after his rider Jonas Vingegaard has blown open the Tour de France GC battle on the Col du Granon.
He says it with absolute confidence. But you can feel the assembled press pack cringe behind their masks. Is this what we’re calling this guy now? Surely this is just the first draft? Is that really what his team-mates call him?
Later, a quick scan over the Jumbo-Visma social media output reveals they’ve been pushing this nickname (is it even a nickname or just a descriptor) for years, using it to announce his re-signing with the team in 2021.
The origin of the name Danish Dynamite is not even anything to do with Vingegaard it comes from the nation’s football team.
In the 1980s Denmark enjoyed an especially strong run of results reaching their first international tournament for 20 years at the Euros in 1984, where they reached the semi-finals, and went on to make it to the World Cup in 1986, where they were knocked out in the second round.
Guided by Sepp Piontek, considered one of the great managers of his era, and possessing a golden generation of talent they played a fast paced attacking style that made them beloved even outside their homeland. But they were losers. As in they didn’t win anything (no I’m not including the 1992 Euros as Piontek had left by then).
Surely one of cycling’s most exciting young talents, one who has taken the fight to the presumed king of Grand Tours for the next decade Tadej Pogačar, one who might well win this Tour de France, deserves better than a second-hand moniker from a bunch of plucky, exciting but ultimately unsuccessful pig-skin kickers.
It’s not even a name Vingegaard can claim sole ownership of. The term is used to describe any Dane who, ironically, wins stuff. Mads Pedersen has been referred to as Danish Dynamite in the recent past.
No. Vingegaard deserves better. And if, as I suspect we will be, we’re talking about him for the next decade or more, so do we. We can workshop this, right? Get beyond the first draft we seem stuck in right now? Come with me cycling.
The best cycling nicknames speak to the person’s character or their style as a rider, think Filippo ‘The Peacock of Sandrigo’ Pozzato, Bernard ‘The Badger’ Hinault or Laurent ‘The Professor’ Fignon.
In this respect we have a bit of a Vingegaard problem as his public persona has about as much sparkle as a building society manager reading you your overdraft terms and conditions. But no less we shall try.
Here I propose a series of alternative nicknames for the Tour’s newest yellow jersey wearer.
The Flying Fishmonger - Yes this uses the same cheap alliteration as Danish Dynamite but Vingegaard famously was discovered while working as a fish processing plant and racing on the side so at least it’s about him
The Hawk of Hillerslev - Vingegaard is best in the high mountains so an aviation theme seems appropriate. Hillerslev is his hometown.
The Jutland Destroyer - Very much in the US sports-mould of place name plus scary thing but he did manage to ‘destroy’ Pogacar on the Col du Granon, for now at least.
The Seagull - Legend has it that when out fishing one day Vingegaard’s motor broke and he lashed together 20 seagulls to get him to shore just as an almighty storm rolled in. Ok, I may have made this one up.
The Scouse Viking - The Jumbo-Visma leader is a big Liverpool FC fan and has, reportedly, been spotted in the stands at Anfield.
I list these only to get things started, send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org or we’re just going to have to settle for Jonas.
Next-up, how to improve that Stefan Küng chant.
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Having trained as a journalist at Cardiff University I spent eight years working as a business journalist covering everything from social care, to construction to the legal profession and riding my bike at the weekends and evenings. When a friend told me Cycling Weekly was looking for a news editor, I didn't give myself much chance of landing the role, but I did and joined the publication in 2016. Since then I've covered Tours de France, World Championships, hour records, spring classics and races in the Middle East. On top of that, since becoming features editor in 2017 I've also been lucky enough to get myself sent to ride my bike for magazine pieces in Portugal and across the UK. They've all been fun but I have an enduring passion for covering the national track championships. It might not be the most glamorous but it's got a real community feeling to it.
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