USA Cycling’s vice president of athletics, Jim Miller, will host a series of bi-weekly Twitter discussions, analysis and question periods highlighting top American riders participating at the Tour de France held from July 3-25.
The sessions are located on Twitter @usacycling and #usactour at 11:00am (MDT) on Tuesdays and Fridays.
Eight American cyclists started the Tour de France, including: seven-time winner Lance Armstrong, Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner (RadioShack), US National Champion George Hincapie and Brent Bookwalter (BMC Racing), Christian VandeVelde (who left the race on stage 2 due to injury), Dave Zabriskie and Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Transitions)
“We’re really still getting a grasp on the Tweet chats,” said Andrea Smith, USA Cycling’s director of communications. “The discussions have been all over the board, but we welcome that. The main topic is the Tour de France and the American riders such as what is happening and why, how that affects the riders, what to look for and what to expect next. We also like to talk about the young up-and-coming American riders and what’s going on with them.”
“Tejay VanGarderen joined us [during one session, as did], Mara Abbott wearing pink at the Giro and Lawson Craddock,” she added. “We welcome really anything surrounding cycling, however. There were tons of questions for Tejay, everything from if he’d rather win a Grand Tour or have his own cooking show, where his next race will be, to what he missed most about home when he’s in Europe.”
Twitter has quickly become one of the fastest and most convenient ways to send and receive short bits of information, especially during bike races. It offers close to real-time race coverage to and from anywhere in the world and allows individuals to interact on an international scale.
“Twitter has become a phenomenon in cycling,” Smith said. “Cycling enthusiasts are tuning in by the thousands so we thought it would be a great way to knock down any perceived barriers and offer a direct line of communication in to the USA Cycling staff, specifically Mr. Miller, as well as hopefully some of the most interesting and influential personalities in the cycling community.”
USA Cycling held its first chat session last Friday 9 July and according to Smith it started slowly but gained momentum. “All sorts of questions are asked like who Jim thinks is going to win a particular stage; How quickly Sam, our coaching education manager, thinks the riders can recover; Who the next top US rider will be.”