Beware the falsely applied nickname.
After a fast start in the Tour of Oman, Sky teammates came up with a new nickname for Edvald Boasson Hagen: Eddie Junior. Comparing him to the legendary Eddie Merckx was quite a tribute for the talented Norwegian.
Unfortunately for Boasson Hagen, there’s a new Eddie Junior and he just won the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix back to back. And this time it wasn’t teammates, it was the man himself handing out the nickname.
Impressed by Cancellara’s dominating performance and his winning attack 50 kilometers from the finish, Mr. Legend told Het Nieuwsblad, “If this is not Merckxian, what is? It was really the way I did before. A very impressive performance,” said Eddie the Original.
That’s bad news for Boasson Hagen who was forced to withdraw from the cobbled classics due to an Achilles injury. Could things get any worse? First, you miss the classics, then you lose your nickname.
There is a time honored protocol for bestowing nicknames in cycling. Only Eddie Merckx has the right to hand out the Eddie Junior title. Just because your teammates think you’re a pretty good stage racer, doesn’t mean they get to call you Lance junior. Only the father names the son, baby.
Now if teammates want to call you the Manxman or Tornado Tom or Spartacus or Sir Speedy Cranks, that’s fine. Joke around all you want, no harm, no foul. Just don’t be throwing around the Indurain Junior title unless you’re the Banesto guy with won five tours.
In addition, the corollary to the Cycling Code of Nicknames states that no riders shall give themselves their own nicknames. How cheesy is that? Marco Pantani started calling himself the Pirate and you know how badly that turned out. Riccardo “Cobra” Ricco is also guilty of EPO and Self-Nicknaming. Shame on you, Riccardo. (We’re sure Vania has a few choice and unprintable nicknames for you.)
The cycling Gods do not appreciate the legendary names of cycling being carelessly bandied about by riders and clever journalists. Woe to those to cross the line. Team Sky, a new team, obviously disobeyed the nicknaming dictums by carelessly slapping Evald with the Eddie Junior title. The consequences were almost immediate: Achilles injury, missed races, a season in disarray.
Merckx has spoken: Fabian Cancellara is Eddie Junior. End of discussion.