Garmin-Sharp manager attracts followers, sponsors
The biggest story of 2012 was the Lance Armstrong/USADA case, and the best way to follow the unfolding drama in real-time was via Twitter. Our best non-riders of the year were front and center in the debate, and nobody offered up the kind of first-hand knowledge and opinions like category winner, Jonathan Vaughters (@Vaughters).
The Slipstream Sports CEO had already attracted a strong following thanks to his wit and insights from inside the team car as manager of the Garmin-Sharp team. Vaughters won our Twitter category in its first year in 2011 and this year he increased his edge over runner-up @UCI_Overlord and raked in almost 42% of the vote.
This year Vaughters added more than 20,000 new followers - up to over 55,000 at the time of publication. What attracted so many to the Vaughters feed?
1) Live tweeting his nervous following of the Giro d'Italia, watching his team win its first ever Grand Tour with Ryder Hesjedal.
2) Vaguely suggestive, humorous posts such as "I think we all need to start using the word "probe" more often" or "On the train to Geneva from Montreux. My favorite part of this journey? Getting to say 'I'm passing through Gland'"
3) Insider knowledge you won't find anywhere else: "I remember in 2010 when some Colonel from OCALESP came to speak to CCP regards to their investigations. Good guy. Wanted best for cycling."
4) Humorous responses to icy barbs sent his way by Johan Bruyneel, who called him and the others involved in Clean Cycling Now "douches". ("Do you ever get that "not so fresh" feeling?")
5) Glimpses into his personal life, such as his wedding, complete with photos of very large fish ("Most of the time I just want to disappear into anonymity. And go fishing.")
6) Opinions and honesty: "I get upset when I see riders feeling forced to lie. But then I remember, I lied too, and that I shouldn't reserve my anger for them."
Lest one think the time spent posting photos of food and responding to fans was wasted, Vaughters revealed in June that his team's new sponsor, Sharp, was bagged in a deal that began on Twitter.
Our runner-up, UCI_Overlord, started out as a parody account of UCI president Pat McQuaid, but turned into a sharply opinionated resource for all things related to the USADA case and all the fallout. He's logged over 48,000 tweets to date! The prolific conversationalist took in almost 15% of the vote, slightly more than third placed The Inner Ring (@inrng). Anonymous insider The Race Radio took fourth over David Walsh.
||Jonathan Vaughters: @Vaughters
||Not Pat McQuaid: @UCI_Overlord
||the Inner Ring: @inrng
||Race Radio: @TheRaceRadio
||David Walsh: @DavidWalshST
||Gerard Vroomen: @gerardvroomen
||Michele Acquarone: @micacquarone
||Sarah Connolly: @_Pigeons_