Social media apparently controls our lives these days, but it can also give us insight into some of the biggest names in the sport – some more than others.
Racers, teams, and races are all keen on trying to attract as large an audience as possible, with some going out of their way to interact with their fans and others just doing their own thing.
It’s safe to say that the big races and the WorldTour men mostly steal the top spots for the number of followers on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, but some runners on the women’s side of the sport also have a good number of followers.
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It is not surprising that the most followed cycling page on the three main social media is the Tour de France with 7,953,108 subscribers. Peter Sagan however tops the list for runners with a whopping 4,445 followers at all levels.
Rigoberto Urán is extremely popular on social media with roughly the same number of followers on all three platforms. His main popularity comes from Colombia and more generally from South America as a whole, which is perhaps not too surprising for the rider nicknamed Mick Jagger.
The tables, which are made by Ian Warren from the Wine and wheels Twitter account, are regularly updated with riders from ranked men’s and women’s races, as well as teams and races.
Ian Warren spoke to Weekly Cycling on the growth potential that teams could get from their riders: “Peter Sagan is clearly ahead in terms of reach, and his new team TotalEnergies would be wise to use his reach to develop their own profile. Likewise, Chris Froome has 1.5 million followers on Twitter, but his Israel Start-Up Nation sales team has only 29,000. “
On the women’s side of the sport, Italian sprinter and athletics star Letizia Paternoster of Trek-Segafredo holds the top spot ahead of some of the sport’s biggest stars.
“There is enormous leeway for the riders on the women’s circuit to increase their audience now that we have the Tour De France Women next year,” continued Warren.
“Letizia Paternoster has over 400,000 subscribers across all platforms, which puts it ahead of Marianne Vos (350,200) and Anna Van Der Breggen (322,300), who is retiring. The audience for female cycling continues to grow, and the profiles of riders to accompany it. “
The following puts Paternoster ahead of Filippo Ganna, Sam Bennett, Caleb Ewan, Sonny Colbrelli and many more of the biggest names in men’s sport.
However, Dutch rider Puck Moonen has 300,000 more followers than Paternoster, with just over 700,000 followers, although she is not yet a WorldTour rider or one of the big stars. She is known as a cycling influencer, but has said in the past that she doesn’t want to be one.
On the team side, perhaps it comes as no surprise that it is Ineos Grenadiers leading the way just ahead of the Movistar team who have likely gained followers thanks to the Netflix series about the trials and tribulations of their team during a season.
There are a few in there as Israel Start-Up Nation is ranked ninth but second on Facebook behind Ineos with teams like Intermarché-Wanty-Gobert Matériaux struggling on Instagram but fifth on Twitter and Facebook.
Races are also keen to create a good following on social media as this does more than just promote the race, but also the surroundings and the race sponsors.
Warren added: “Paris-Roubaix is clearly the biggest race in terms of reach outside of the big laps. In fact, some WorldTour events have a pitiful number of subscribers. media and a race as prestigious as Amstel Gold has only 30,000 followers.
“Non-WorldTour races like the Tour of Britain far exceed those numbers, with 246,000 following, which would place him 5th in all men’s road races if he were on the list.”