He's the reigning world champion, winner of the Tour de France green jersey and 20 career stages in the race, but Mark Cavendish isn't just a stage winning machine, he's also quite a personality - and nowhere was that more apparent in 2011 than on the social media site Twitter.
All of our nominees helped to show that social media can give the fans unprecedented access to the thoughts of professional riders - the day-to-day drudgery, travel woes, early anti-doping controls, and the racing highs and lows. It is for this reason that Cyclingnews created the best of Twitter category.
Mark Cavendish's 140-character quips earned him a virtual victory margin as large as what he normally enjoys on the road - he earned 33.8% of the votes. That was nearly 2500 more than Fabian Cancellara's charmingly poor English (known as "fabianese") and David Millar's rapier-like wit. American Taylor Phinney claimed the fourth spot.
Cavendish's Twitter comments give his fans an inside glimpse into what it's like to room with Bernhard Eisel, his life with model Peta Todd and his sometimes hectic life outside of racing, including photos of his new puppy, but it was quips like "Just saw todays last kilometre. Gilbert humbled everyone with the equivalence of pulling down his pants to reveal a 13incher. #YIKES" which earned him the top spot in our poll.
Cancellara's second place was largely due to his mysterious code-like transmissions from the team hotels. "Our rooms they have 2 beds.There is a distance betwinn. but this night o'grady stolen my planket.Because he had cold.i taket back ;-)"
A published author, David Millar's tweets are nearly as entertaining as his autobiography, with delightful 140-character peeks into the team bus such as this one from Beijing: "QOTD - Matty Wilson 'Anybody get their vaccinations?' Everybody 'No.' MW 'Ah well. I figure how bad can typhoid be anyway?' Everybody nods."
Best riders on Twitter
1 Mark Cavendish: @MarkCavendish 7323 33.8%
2 Fabian Cancellara: @f_cancellara 4853 22.4%
3 David Millar: @millarmind 4169 19.3%
4 Taylor Phinney: @taylorphinney 2638 12.2%
5 Jeremy Powers: @JeremyPowers 863 4.0%
6 Mike Creed: @Michael_Creed 546 2.5%
7 Laurens Ten Dam: @laurenstendam 538 2.5%
8 Tim Johnson: @timjohnsoncx 453 2.1%
9 Helen Wyman: @CXHelen 251 1.2%
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