Blake Quick vs. Kiaan Watts: Who has the better cycling name?

Answering the more important questions in cycling.

Iain Treloar & Jonny Long
by Iain Treloar & Jonny Long 12.04.2024 Photography by
Iain Treloar & Cor Vos
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At the start of any bike race, when you go to pick up your accreditation that officially declares you a member of the media, you are also handed a sheet of paper with the list of riders who will be on the start line of the race you are currently at. This is useful. It means less time spent staring at your phone and can quickly provide you with reminders of who exactly is in your immediate vicinity, or help you identify the names of the numbered riders you don’t know.

For us, at the start of Scheldeprijs, it gave us the opportunity to note that yes, the likes of Jasper Philipsen and Tim Merlier were there, but they would likely be doing all of their pre-race media briefings in the majority-spoken language of the Dutch-speaking land we found ourselves in. Instead, we looked further afield.

A scan through the Team Flanders-Baloise roster revealed that the spectacularly-named Lars Craps was, sadly, sitting Scheldeprijs out. Stijn Appel? Liam Slock? Fun names undoubtedly, with (probably) fun people and subsequent stories behind them. So who to talk to? The choice soon became obvious: two antipodeans with names born for racing bikes: Blake Quick and Kiaan Watts. Blessed be the sports directors who put those names on the Scheldeprijs start list and gave us some mild-mannered bullshit to occupy us for a morning.

We stood outside each rider’s bus, Watts for Israel-Premier Tech Academy and Quick for Jayco-AlUla, right in the gap between their returning from sign on and the doorway that leads back up to the secluded comfort of the team bus. One New Zealander with flowing locks rolled up, followed a few minutes later by an Australian of similarly glorious hair. Our conversations proceeded thus:

Escape Collective: When was the first time you realised you had a name that was perfect for being a cyclist?

Kiaan Watts: Pretty shortly after I started riding I got a lot of jokes about it, and obviously I’ve heard them all.

Blake Quick: Commentators in Oz used it quite a lot, so around then I guess.

EC: Do you like your name?

KW: Yeah, I mean … I can change it if I want, but it’s my birth name, it’s what my mum called me and my dad’s last name obviously so … no problems with it.

BQ: Yeah, I think it’s nice.

The start of Scheldeprijs 2024.
The start of Scheldeprijs 2024.

EC: A two-parter: are you aware of Blake Quick/Kiaan Watts, and is there space for the both of you in one bunch?

KW: I’m very aware of Blake – we’re pretty good mates, and spend a lot of time together in Girona on nights out and stuff like that. I think there’s more than enough space for both of us.

BQ: We’re good mates, I just moved from Girona to Nice and I popped back in last week and saw him and a few of the other boys.

EC: What is the quickest/most watts you’ve ever done?

KW: I think maybe 1480.

EC: That’s a lot of watts.

KW: Yeah, well I’m a sprinter. Not world-class or anything like that but good enough.

BQ: Back when I was on the track I used to hit 1990-something, but it’s a lot less now.

EC: That’s a lot more watts than Watts, does that surprise you or did you know that?

BQ: Nah, I do know I’ve got more watts than Watts but I know him quite well, we’re similar riders but I’d say I’m a little bit faster and he’s a little bit more crafty.

EC: If you had to be honest, who has the better name and why?

KW: I think his name sounds cooler but mine is definitely a lot more cycling related, I’d say.

BQ: I would have to say myself. Not for any particular reason, I’m just biased.

EC: If you could have any other name, what would it be and why?

KW: I don’t think I’d want another name. I think mine’s pretty unique. A lot of people butcher my first name but everyone gets the second part right, so I’m happy with it.

BQ: I don’t really know.

EC: What about Blakest Quickest?

BQ: That would be fitting, wouldn’t it, if I was the quickest … maybe one day.

EC: If you win a Tour stage or something similar, will you change your name to Blakest Quickest?

BQ: I don’t know if I’ll legally change my name but we can definitely sort something out.

EC: Like your social media handle or something.

BQ: Or get a tattoo.

Describe Jensen Plowright in one word.

KW: Speedball.

BQ: I have many words to describe Jensen.

EC: [nervously] Are they complimentary?

BQ: Yeah, they are complimentary. Umm … I would say fun.

We prefer speedball.

With these two excellent names (and spirited defence of their merits) out of the way, our attention turned to the results at the end of the day. Would it be Quick? Would it be Watts?

In the end, it went about the way that the riders and their respective wattage/quickness expected: in 39th position, 15 seconds off the pace, was Jayco-AlUla’s Blake Quick. 34 seconds back, 58th over the line, was Kiaan Watts. Quick trumps Watts – this time – but that doesn’t mean it will always be so. Consider this our Escape Collective Promise™ to continue tracking this beat, and a permanent reminder for Blake Quick to get a big Blakest Quickest tattoo if/when he wins a stage at the Tour.

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