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."
He is also an inventor who has created over 100 bicycles, including the largest in the world. He is listed in the Guinness Book of Records for building 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.
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.
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.
Senft appeared at the 2014 Tour de France in the town of Armentières, towards the end of stage 4, the first stage of the race to take place in France. Subsequently in November 2014 it was reported that Senft was due to retire as a result of poor health and a lack of sponsorship.
- "Biggest mobile guitar-world record set by Dieter Senft". Retrieved 2010-07-19.
- "'Football-Bike' wows Klagenfurt crowd". Retrieved 2008-08-13.[dead link]
- "'"El Diablo" Reuters photo - 13th stage of the Giro d'Italia cycling race from Spilimbergo to Glosslockner".
- "Injury update: Wynants and Terpstra improving". Retrieved 2012-07-12.
- Wynn, Nigel (6 November 2011). "Didi The Devil set to retire". Cycling Weekly. Retrieved 8 November 2014.
- 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"