Team Sky's Luke Rowe talks us through the ups and downs of having an animated fan base.
Being a professional cyclist, and of course part of Team Sky, we have fans. Any pro cyclist or team will have a following and people who admire and respect them.
I would say the most passionate fans in the world are the Basque. Whether you’re the first over the top of the mountain or in the gruppetto they will give you a huge roar and will stay there until the last car in the convoy has passed.
However, the most knowledgeable would have to be the Belgians. They know everything.
They know each and every rider in all teams, how the races are raced and what to expect from a race depending on things like the weather conditions.
While we may not be footballers, we still get a good crew of people outside the bus at races wanting autographs and photos which is nice and something that I think we should dedicate a few minutes to before signing on and starting the day’s race.
The same goes for when you arrive to the hotel. This is more so at the bigger races such as the Tour where you’ll have a horde waiting for you at the hotel — well more to see Froomey than the rest of us but it’s still nice.
Of course, on the flip side not all fans are great. When you get urine thrown in your face during a race it’s never nice but hey, 99.9 per cent of fans are great and there’s always going to be one plonker in the crowd.
For me the only big no-no for fans is when they approach you at the dinner table. That’s the small part of the day that you get to enjoy your meal and just chill out and have a laugh with your team-mates.
Another addition to the fan frontier is of course social media. It’s great but terrible at the same time.
It gives everyone an opinion, which can sometimes be good, but also after a bad performance you can come back, check Twitter, and see you’ve copped some abuse.
I rarely check social media responses during races as I can’t be dealing with the trolls but like I said above it’s only a small minority who will get stuck into you — but hey-ho that’s life.
So to the fans out there, thanks for the support!