Parlez-vous Twitter?

People have differing views of Twitter. For some it’s just a stream of inane banalities. For others it’s a new form of communication that gives a personal insight into lives of others.

I’m in both camps. Some people can tweet the most boring things but when it comes to pro cycling, you can get instant insight and news. Like any media source, it’s all about being selective. The days when the only way to hear from a rider was at a press conference are over. Longer-term that might be something to lament, we need the cycling media, but that debate is for another day.

Most riders don’t use Twitter. But many English-speakers do and there’s a good share of Dutch and Belgians. Several Italians are on as well, Ivan Basso wins my “dullest tweeter” award thanks to his bland messages. There are also a few Spaniards, including Alberto Contador. But the French are totally absent.

I can only find three French pros on Twitter, all are pals within the modest Big Mat Auber squad. It’s a shame those of us on Twitter can’t follow the likes of Sylvain Chavanel or Thomas Voeckler and even gadget-lovers like Sky’s Nico Portal and Omega Pharma’s Mickaël Delage aren’t there.

Like I say, Twitter isn’t for everyone. But given pro bike racing is built on publicity and PR, shouldn’t at least a few French riders try to communicate with fans and the media? Above all, note that BBox-Bouygues Télécom team is backed by a mobile phone operator: showcasing hand-held media devices should be written into the employment contract! Mais non