Rider websites

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Io Sono Ted King

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.

Sign of the horns

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?

Local news
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.

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{ 9 comments }

Crommy March 9, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Michael Barry’s website is superb: http://michaelbarry.ca/
He writes very intelligently on a lot of subjects, always a good read

The Inner Ring March 9, 2011 at 12:32 pm

Crommy, yes a great pick that I shouldn’t have overlooked. I’ll edit the piece to add that one.

Neil March 9, 2011 at 1:58 pm

Just what I need, more cycling blogs to follow ;-)

Nice idea though, I’ve enjoyed reading through Cadel Evan’s blog this morning. Definitely makes me like him a bit more!

iowakathy March 9, 2011 at 3:12 pm

damn, we left of Brent Bookwalter. He just did a site redo and his personal updates are nice! http://www.brentbookwalter.com/

Waffles & Steel March 9, 2011 at 6:44 pm

I was going to say Michael Barry, too. Nice post. I was unfamiliar with most of these rider blogs.

xyxax March 10, 2011 at 5:34 am

“Stairway to Heaven”, man, not “Whole Lotta Love”.
I’m old and all I got left is useless factoids.
and an internet connection.

The Inner Ring March 10, 2011 at 8:24 am

Neil: yes, it’s overload time. I tend to dip in and out but not that often.

iowakathy: thanks, that’s exactly what I wanted. An interesting rider with some strong performances, this is just the kind of site worth viewing.

Waffles & Steel: it’s good, I wish he’d write more.

xyxax: thanks, I know that but wanted to put something that rocked and rolled a bit more, someone unfamiliar with Led Zep would open the youtube for Stairway to Heaven and mistake them for a folk band and give up after 20 seconds.

xyxax March 10, 2011 at 2:02 pm

Ah, of course you’re right. Pedantry is my way of working through the guilt of having played that song, badly, around campfires in the 70′s, in contravention of the Geneva Conventions.
I need coolin’.

Alex Murray - Chasing Wheels blog March 10, 2011 at 2:29 pm

Oss is now also friends with the guitarist from Pendulum, through Manuel Quinziato. They were all training together in Calpe a while back. I think I’ve either got his old kit or Ivan Santaromita’s \m/ as they say.

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