Didi Senft

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The Red Devil at the 2005 Tour of Germany
The Red Devil at Cologne Marathon 2011

Dieter "Didi" Senft (born February 7, 1952 in Reichenwalde, Germany) is known as the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia devil or El Diablo. Since 1993, he has been seen in the Tour and Giro's many stages wearing his red devil costume and painting trident symbols on the road some miles before he appears. Senft attributes the inspiration for the costume to German cycling announcer Herbert Watterot who called the last lap of local criterium races, "the Red Devil's Lap."[citation needed]

He is also an inventor who has created over 100 bicycles, including the largest in the world.[citation needed] He is listed in the Guinness Book of Records for building the largest mobile guitar (taking the form of a bicycle).[1]

Didi Senft painting a trident at the Giro d'Italia

During multi-day stage races he often travels ahead of the race itself in a custom-decorated camper vehicle, picking various locations for the race to pass by. He is also a regular attendee at important single day races, such as the spring classics and world championships.

During the 2006 edition of Tour of Switzerland, Didi Senft painted his signature trident on the road the day before the competitors came by his door. But later that day Swiss police arrived and said it was illegal and that he must either pay a fine or go to jail. He was also forced to remove the painting from the road.[citation needed]

He was again in the spotlight at Euro 2008 when he rode through Klagenfurt in his specially created "Football Bike" prior to the Germany vs Croatia Match.[2]

He was seen at the Giro d'Italia 2011, 2012 and Cologne Marathon 2011 in pink Devil costume.[3]

In 2012, Senft confirmed he would miss the Tour de France for the first time since 1993 after undergoing surgery. "I just got back from having my head x-rayed, the third time in three weeks, I feel like a Chernobyl reactor," he told Cyclingnews.com. "Today the results were much better and I can start doing more things every day."[4] Following his enforced absence from events, Senft was present at the 2012 World Championships.

In 2013, Senft appeared during stage 15 on the slopes of Mont Ventoux. He was dressed in yellow to celebrate the 100th edition of the tour, and appeared shortly after Chris Froome (the eventual stage winner) took position at the front of the race. He appeared for a second time during in 2013 on stage 18; he was located at the corner of the first (of twenty-one) hairpin bends up Alpe d'Huez.

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