Who are the most popular riders on social media?

Peter Sagan (Bora-Hansgrohe) wins 2018 Paris-Roubaix, Silvan Diller finishes second
Peter Sagan winning Paris-Roubaix in 2018 (Image credit: Getty Images)

Peter Sagan's win rate may have slowed down in recent years but it hasn't affected his online popularity, with the Slovakian still the 'most followed' professional cyclist on social media.

The Wine & Wheels (opens in new tab) account on Twitter has compiled a ranking of riders' follower counts across Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, with Marianne Vos out in front on the women's side.

Behind Sagan, Colombians Rigoberto Urán and Nairo Quintana fill the podium spots, while Britons Chris Froome and Mark Cavendish are next, as part of a select group of 11 who have a combined following of more than one million. This includes neither Tour de France Tadej Pogačar nor Vuelta a España and Olympic time trial champion Primož Roglič. 

Sagan leads the way on Instagram and Facebook, with 1.9m and 1.6m followers respectively. He is only the fifth most popular on Twitter - the leader there being Froome with 1.5m - but it's enough to take him to a combined social total of 4,445,000. 

Urán, a popular figure in Colombia, is the second most popular on Instagram and Twitter and the third most popular on Facebook, giving him an overall following of 3.9m. Quintana, less of a man-of-the-people but still revered in Colombia, lags just behind his compatriot on 3.7m, but is more popular on Facebook, with the top three miles ahead when it comes to the oldest of the three platforms.

Froome and Cavendish both make use of strong Twitter presences to make up for where they lack on Facebook and Instagram, with Froome totalling 3.1m across the three platforms and Cavendish totalling 2.6m. 

Outside the 'big five', there's a sizeable drop down to the rest of the '1m' club, which includes Richard Carapaz, Egan Bernal, Vincenzo Nibali, Mathieu van der Poel, Geraint Thomas and Julian Alaphilippe.

Roglič falls just short, in 12th place on 967,000 followers, just ahead of Belgian stars Wout van Aert and Remco Evenepoel. Alejandro Valverde is next, still above 800,000, but Pogačar, despite his two Tour de France titles and two Monuments, can only manage 16th with 604,000.

There is an even bigger gulf to the next most popular rider, Elia Viviani, on 391,000, with the Italian trailed by the likes of Tom Pidcock, Filippo Ganna, and Caleb Ewan.

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On the women's side, Vos pulls in 123,000 followers on Twitter, 118,000 on Instagram, and 109,000 on Facebook for a combined total of 350,000. For comparison, in a mixed gender ranking, that would put her 20th, in between Pidcock and Ganna. 

The multiple world champion and winner of more than 200 races is not the most popular on any of the platforms but is consistent across the three. She is trailed closely by Anna van der Breggen, whose 322,000 followers come largely from Facebook - where she is way out in front of the rest - with scarcely any from Twitter. 

The final podium spot goes to Paris-Roubaix Femmes champion Lizzie Deignan on 316,000, whose strong Twitter presence echoes her compatriots Froome and Cavendish on the men's list.

Annemiek van Vleuten's 138,000 followers on Instagram make her the most-followed on the photo sharing platform, and she enjoys solid bases on the other two to reach a combined 285,000 people. 

It's very much a four-horse race, with more than 100,000 followers between Van Vleuten and Hannah Barnes, with Cecilie Uttrup Ludwig and Kasia Niewiadoma the only other riders with six-figure follower counts. 

In terms of teams, Ineos are by far the most followed, topping all three platforms to boast a combined total of almost 3m. Movistar and Trek-Segafredo, whose accounts cover both their men's and women's squads, occupy the podium places with 2m and 1.4m, respectively.

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