In the inaugural edition of the "Best non-rider on Twitter" category, Slipstream Sports CEO Jonathan Vaughters has scored a landslide victory, taking home 36.9 per cent of the votes - nearly 8,000 in total.
Vaughters pummeled the "UCI Overlord", a sarcastic parody of UCI president Pat McQuaid who claimed only 11 .1percent, while the anonymous Cyclingnews columnist "The Inner Ring" claimed third with 10.8 per cent.
All of our entrants impressed the nomination jury with their ability to stimulate intelligent or at least entertaining debate, but as a cycling insider with over 32,000 followers, Vaughters uses his insights to keen effect. It's clear that, unlike celebrities like Ashton Kutcher and certain current and former professional cyclists who use ghost-Tweeters, the 140-character quips are 100% "JV".
"I don't really use Twitter for "official" communications," Vaughters told Cyclingnews. "I just try to convey things that I, personally, find humorous, interesting or important to cycling fans. Quite often I get myself in a bit of trouble over my glib and perhaps overly frank way of dealing with Twitter, but I'd rather get my wrist slapped here and there than put out some contrived crap."
"I suppose if there's one thing I try to use Twitter for, it's to try and get folks to spend a moment to critically think through what happened in a race or what's happening in the sport. I like smart fans. It makes my job more interesting."
More often than not, if you ask him a question on Twitter, Vaughters will reply - a policy which clearly earned him respect from Cyclingnews readers.
"It takes quite a bit of time, but I find that there is so much misinformation and misinterpretation of what's going on in cycling, that I just try and get them information so they can make their own judgments. An educated and intelligent fan is the best kind. I truly enjoy it when I see people making correct and informed assessments surrounding events in cycling. I hope that I help them "read between" the lines. I try to anyway."
Even though some of the comments he gets can be of an elementary school mindset, Vaughters sees the public debate as a way to progress the sport to a more mature level.
"The transition in the anglo cycling fan world from being based around super fandom of one icon or hero and moving toward an educated group of fans that understands all the nuance and all the players that exist in professional cycling is a process that will take time. But its well worth it. I really enjoy when people start to see that there's more to tactics and strategy in racing than 'send the whole team to the front and kill everyone'," he said.
"I also really enjoy people starting to look at the politics in the sport and realize how much room for improvement we have."
Best non-rider on Twitter for 2011:
1 Jonathan Vaughters: @Vaughters 7987 (36.9%)
2 Not Pat McQuaid: @UCI_Overlord 2391 (11.1%)
3 The Inner Ring: @inrng 2327 (10.8%)
4 Cycling Fans Anonymous: @cyclingfansanon 2275 (10.5%)
5 Gerard Vroomen: @gerardvroomen 2265 (10.5%)
6 Race Radio: @TheRaceRadio 1910 (8.8%)
7 NY Velocity: @nyvelocity 1025 (4.7%)
8 Cédric Vasseur: @cedvasseur 867 (4.0%)
9 Michele Acquarone: @micacquarone 385 (1.8%)
10 mmmaiko: @mmmaiko 202 (0.9%)
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