Many riders are marketable sports stars and like many a celebrity they have their dedicated websites. Some of these aren’t very exciting, often just a repository for images and results. Not to single him out, but Fabian Cancellara’s website isn’t a must read corner of the web.
For me it’s the personal tone that interests me. For example Jérôme Coppel’s site at first looks like a relic from 1998 but it’s packed with family photos and local flavours. By contrast Cadel Evans has a website worthy of world champion with design and images but again, for me, it’s the diary entries that make it worthwhile and to it’s even more unique thanks to his wife’s diary, complete with recipes. Dave Zabriskie’s quirky ways are apparent on his site.
King of HTML
I put the question out on Twitter to ask which riders had a good website. Many kindly replied and Ted King’s iamtedking.com was cited more than anyone else. The American rider has joined Liquigas-Cannondale and is covering many aspects of his life online. Even injured right now there are details of the physio work, not to mention a soup recipe. It’s not just the fans, an article on B-Net discusses King’s embrace of social media.
Another site I like is DanielOss.it , another Liquigas rider, featured the other day because of his haircut. A notable difference is that whilst King’s site is done by King, Oss has a fan site. But it’s not the common tributes, it’s very much themed by Oss. There’s the usual photos and twitter feed included, all good stuff but nothing unique. But dig a bit more and the “to be a rock and not to roll” motto is a quote from Led Zeppelin, you can find “sign of the horns” stickers and t-shirts. The rock theme goes on with the site hosted by a tattoo parlour mentioned as the HQ for his fan club and there’s also a musical play list. If you haven’t got it by now, Oss rocks. He also does a diary for La Gazzetta Dello Sport.
News and views
The websites can be good communication tools, an effective way for the rider to reach more fans. Most riders have deals for shoes, sunglasses and other products and this is a way to showcase them too. But what will keep readers coming back is original content not corporate product placement. It’s a way to identify a rider by different means than their team or results. They go from being “that guy who won that race” to something more unique. Even Daniel Oss has a very recognisable haircut but maybe you’ll think of Led Zepellin the next time too?
Some riders are headline news. But with a rider like Ted King or Gianni Meersman, you can get stories you’d often miss. Also we might file Jérôme Coppel under “Frenchman”, but he’s from a specific region and sites like this allow locals to track “their” rider. It’s quite common for a rider to have a sizeable local following. Increasingly Twitter has displaced a lot of this.
Michael Barry has some great writing online, the Sky rider manages to give some poetic insights into his life. Many also recommended British pro Tom Southam for the quality of his writing and his musings on life, music and more are worth the visit. Have you got any favourites to share, in particular riders that have unusual or unique content? If so let me know via the comments.