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The Ivan Basso Nickname Contest

We got this started the other day, and I tried to follow up with a post on BiciRace to keep it going, though it's a news site rather than a blog, so it's hard to get interactive. So I'm reposting the article on the flip.

Courtesy of BiciRace, and I guess me.

Ivan Basso may be well on his way to his first major tour championship, and in convincing fashion to boot. There may be little any commentator can add to describe his effortless winning performances on every difficult stage so far in this Giro d'Italia. Today, as he shed challenger after challenger, he barely seemed to break a sweat. Basically, he has the peloton in the palm of his hand.

What he doesn't have, as yet, is a suitable nickname.

This isn't a fatal flaw; after all, Lance and Greg LeMond had nothing much to speak of and still managed OK. But for an Italian to go without one is a Cycling sin. Look back: Cipollini was Super Mario, the Lion King, and god knows what else. Pantani (speaking of demi-gods) was il Pirate and Elefantino, to name two. DiLuca is "Il Killer di Spoltore"; Simoni is the Spider, Petacchi is Ale-Jet... and they have custom paint jobs on their bikes to prove it. So for Basso to take his place in the Pantheon of Italian Cycling champions, well... something must be done.

Over at the Podium Cafe (, we've kicked around a few ideas, and I'll add a few more to consider. Frankly, there's no clear winner. We need your help. We can't do this alone.

  • First, what's out there is inadequate. Basso has been called "the Italian Stallion" and "the Smiling Assassin." The first one is too general -- it could describe about 100 riders -- and anyway it raises copyright issues. So that's out. The second one reminds me of how one particularly putrid writer used to call Bjorn Borg the "angelic assassin." High cringe factor. Let's move on.
  • From the Podium Cafe readers... the best of the lot was Basso-Matic: it slices, it dices. High clever factor, but since this is aimed at an Italian audience too, the obscure reference to mid-70s Saturday Night Live skits doesn't fly. Some other ideas to dismiss: Striped Basso, Holder of the Suitcase of Courage, and He Who Crushes All Who Oppose Him. Yes, that Podium Cafe is a hotbed of creativity.
  • Basso Profundo... someone threw this one out there as a joke, but I think it's very classy. Let's hang on to this one.
    "Basso" is Italian for "low", so Lay-em-Low Basso? You can see this is not easy.
  • Ivan the Terrible is out there, but this is a guy who's smiling all day. Next...
  • Double Trouble? Something with the word Double has to be considered.
  • Il Patrone! That's coming next, regardless of what anyone thinks.

    This exercise is reminding me a lot of picking out kids' names. Not easy. If you have suggestions or preferences of anything listed above, email me at Thanks!