Last night as I sat down to watch the live coverage of the Amgen Tour of California on Eurosport I also switched on the twitter application tweetdeck on the laptop . I noticed @carltonreid ( all usernames on twitter begin with @ ) had ‘tweeted’ that both Eurosport commentators Brian Smith ( @cyclevox) and David Harmon ( @spokesmen ) were on twitter and I decided to check them out .
Everything on Twitter is fast and user friendly so within 3o seconds I was now following the tweets of both commentators . Just as the live coverage was due to begin and ski jumping was all that was to be seen @cyclevox posted that the coverage would be running late and would not begin until 11.00 pm . There was no mention on the TV itself but Twitter was keeping us up to date .
Then I noticed that tweets were coming from some of the journalists and team cars on the race itself . ( look up #atoc on twitter ) . @lancearmstrong ‘s manager @johanbruyneel was giving great info from the Astana team car . @bikeradar and @fredcast were giving fantastic live detailed coverage through out and @socalcycling was there towards the end of the stage .
When the TV coverage began weather conditions in California were too bad for the helicoptors to fly and both Brian Smith @cyclevox and David Harmon @spokesmen,did a great job to keep us entertained without any live shots to comment on . Then I noticed that some of their comments were being delivered shortly after similar tweets were being posted . They too were on twitter and using it to keep them informed .
Race radio ( a special broadcast to all team cars to keep them informed as to what is happening up front ) then commented that Armstrong had punctured but was back on the bike quickly . This was relayed by the journalists until @lizkreutz , who was travelling in the back of the Astana team car , posted a picture via twitter of the actual wheel with 2 broken spokes which can be seen here : http://twitpic.com/1ij15
Then with tv shots still unavailable @fredcast began to stream live video from a car in the cavalcade , which displayed just how bad the conditions at the time were .
Both commentators were doing a fantastic job under the circumstances , as the tv shots that they were receiving were pretty bad but they still managed to convey the excitement of the final part of the stage . The twitterati in the cavalcade were also in full flow and I really felt as if I was there in the rain with Francesco Mancebo as he crossed the line to take the stage win .
Twitter really has surpassed other forms of live coverage such as www.cyclingnews.com ‘s live updates which are good , but come from just one journalist and require constant refreshing of your browser .
Yesterday also , @lancearmstrong ‘s bike was stolen along with 3 others and the first place he contacted was Twitter where he even offered a reward for it’s safe return . He has over 100,000 followers on twitter so that’s a lot of people immediatly on the case .
I have also been enjoying @willcarling , the former England rugby captain’s live tweet’s as he commented on England’s last two six nations games . How long before Keith Wood does the same for us ?
Twitter gets you straight to the heart of the action , or directly in contact with people you could never dream of communicating with before . I have facebook and bebo profiles but find them too time consuming , and just haven’t gotten into them , although they probably are worthwhile . @daraghdoyle put it well on today’s morning Ireland radio programme ‘ Bebo and Facebook connect you with those you used to know , Twitter connects you with those you want to get to know ‘
We are on there too . Follow @worldwidecycles to see what we are up to !