Senft, as the Red Devil; 2005 Tour of Germany
February 7, 1952
Dieter "Didi" Senft (born February 7, 1952 in Reichenwalde, Germany) is a German cycling fan who is known as the Didi the Devil or El Diablo at the Tour de France and Giro d'Italia. 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."
Senft is an inventor who has created over 100 bicycles, including the largest in the world. According to the Guinness Book of Records, Senft built the largest mobile guitar, taking the form of a bicycle.
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.
In 1996, Senft travelled to Atlanta, Georgia, USA to cheer on the athletes during the '96 Summer Olympic Games cycling road race on the streets of suburban Buckhead.
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.
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." Following his enforced absence from events, Senft was present at the 2012 World Championships, and has been at the Tour de France in each edition since, as of 2017.
- "Biggest mobile guitar-world record set by Dieter Senft". Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- "'Football-Bike' wows Klagenfurt crowd". Archived from the original on April 13, 2009. Retrieved 2008-08-13.
- "'"El Diablo" Reuters photo – 13th stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race from Spilimbergo to Glosslockner". Baltimore Sun. May 20, 2011.
- "Injury update: Wynants and Terpstra improving". Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- Media related to Didi Senft at Wikimedia Commons
- Didi Senft in full action during the Tour in 2010
- The DEVIL: PEZ-Clusive Interview!
- The Tour-devil's Homepage
- The Devil jumps beside a pack of riders during the fifth stage of the 95th Tour de France cycling race between Cholet and Chateauroux, July 9, 2008. (REUTERS/Bogdan Cristel)
- Video of the Tour Devil's crazy bikes
- Didi Senft is one of the characters of the cycling film "The Last Kilometer"