When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

Tweet de France: Cycling 3,430 Kilometers In 140 Characters

Is cycling up and down the Alps, and around every other corner in France, not tiring enough? Now cyclists are expected to tweet in between exhausting stages. And from their bikes?

Tour de France 2011 (Team Garmin-Cervélo)
Tour de France 2011 (Team Garmin-Cervélo)
François Thomazeau and Olivier Villepreux

The 2011 Tour de France has been hit by the full force of the Twitter invasion. Since Lance Armstrong led the way three years ago by announcing that he would communicate with his fans and the press via Twitter, almost every single top cyclist has by now created a profile on the social network.

More or less directed by the communication staff of their own team, the cyclists try to be informative or humorous. Some, like defending champion Alberto Contador of Spain, often make staff members tweet on their behalf.

Among the boldest twitterers, Manx racing cyclist Mark Cavendish posted after Philippe Gilbert's victory at Saturday's first stage of the Tour de France at the Mont des Allouettes : "Gilbert humbled everyone with the equivalence of pulling down his pants to reveal …" His profile description is clear : "Fast sprinter, faster talker. Disclaimer: May cause offense."

The cycling "tweetoshpere" particularly likes British humor. Two years ago, panic had spread after UK champion Bradley Wiggins posted he had revelations to make that would "shake the whole world of cycling!" It was a joke. Since then, the Olympic champion has distanced himself from Twitter.

The most hooked on the network is undoubtedly the very promising American talent Taylor Phinney, who isn't in this year's Tour. Lagging behind in the last stage of the Tour de Romandie, the cyclist described his last 100 meters on the stretch of Geneva asphalt by tweeting from his bike … a real Live Report!

"Eventually, I will do it too"

Still, some old timers still resist the Tweeter invasion. Jens Voigt, 39, the oldest cyclist of this year's Tour, has not yet created his Twitter profile. "Twitter is great when you want to communicate without anyone interfering. But I'm kind of reluctant in using it because I know that if you tweet while you're angry or in a hurry, it can be read all the way to China and it stays there forever! I am a little old-fashioned, I like paper, I need to hold something in my hands to make sure it's true."

Yet, the German cyclist remains one of the last not to have a Twitter page. The Scottish racer David Millar, 34, finally followed the flock. Last Sunday, he created his Twitter profile. "I know," says Voigt. "Stuart O'Grady did the same two days ago. These youngsters are putting me under pressure to create my own Twitter account. Eventually I will do it too…"

For now, the "Boeing" just has a web page created by his fans, jensvoigtfacts.com, on which his admirers give him credit for imaginary performances such as: "Jens Voigt has a handlebar on his Swiss Army Knife." To which he answers: "That's cool. I'm flattered. After all, we are all here to entertain people…"

Read the original article in French

Photo - Team Garmin-Cervélo

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.

FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War

Will Winter Crack The Western Alliance In Ukraine?

Kyiv's troops are facing bitter cold and snow on the frontline, but the coming season also poses longer term political questions for Ukraine's allies. It may be now or never.

Ukraine soldier in winer firing a large canon with snow falling

Ukraine soldier firing a large cannon in winter.

Pierre Haski


PARIS — Weather is a weapon of war. And one place where that’s undoubtedly true right now is Ukraine. A record cold wave has gripped the country in recent days, with violent winds in the south that have cut off electricity of areas under both Russian and Ukrainian control. It's a nightmare for troops on the frontline, and survival itself is at stake, with supplies and movement cut off.

Stay up-to-date with the latest on the Russia-Ukraine war, with our exclusive international coverage.

Sign up to our free daily newsletter.

This is the reality of winter warfare in this part of Europe, and important in both tactical and strategic terms. What Ukraine fears most in these circumstances are Russian missile or drone attacks on energy infrastructures, designed to plunge civilian populations into cold and darkness.

The Ukrainian General Staff took advantage of NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg's visit to Kyiv to ask the West to provide as many air defense systems as possible to protect these vital infrastructures. According to Kyiv, 90% of Russian missile launches are intercepted; but Ukraine claims that Moscow has received new weapon deliveries from North Korea and Iran, and has large amounts of stocks to strike Ukraine in the coming weeks.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest