Tour de France : Live-Tweet at the heart of the world’s biggest cycling event

That phone call changed my summer. I am a freelance journalist for AFP, and also passionate about cycling, as are many millions in France. So when the person on the phone asked me if I was available to live-tweet the Tour de France for AG2R La Mondiale, one of AFP-Services’ clients, it came as a blessing.

My task was to cover the AG2R team’s performance on the race, day after day, on their Twitter account : I had to analyse Vincent Lavenu’s team progress on the race, and follow each of the team members.

Each day began before the actual departure, well before the TV broadcast starts. While I was sitting comfortably at the office in front of my three screens (one TV and two computers), I logged on to the Twitter feed, where the day’s stage was described. If it was flat then the day was going to be likewise, if was steep, I was going to have a lot to write about. I was in constant contact with one of the managers, who was in the second AG2R car on the race. I tweet his analysis of the race, without revealing too much of course. My main task is to report on the race, and cheer the cyclists while describing their efforts and the evolution of the race.

The first days were fairly quiet, since the trail is usually designed for fast-runners during the first week. There were a couple breakaways, but few were led by AG2R. It turned out the team had greater objectives. Romain Bardet, who was the team leader for AG2R, came 6th at the 2014 Tour de France. At the 19th stage this year, the Frenchman who was up to then rather understated in his performance, showed off with a splendid victory at Saint-Gervais Mont-Blanc and finished second. He was just behind the irrevocable Christopher Froome and was not to leave the spot until they reached the Champs Elysees podium.

Through the numerous Twitter accounts I had to follow in order to feed AG2R’s, I realized how social media users supported this fantastic runner. The other cyclists on the team, the journalists, the commentators allowed for Romain Bardet’s popularity to rise to fame.

Gautier Aebischer