As the six-hour men’s road race unfolded on the opening day of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games on Saturday, one of the most curious things was watching Namibian competitor Dan Craven tweeting during the event.
Craven’s in-race tweets gave an extra dimension to the race, with ‘his’ thoughts on the course, fellow competitors and exactly what was in his mussette.
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Of course, it became apparent fairly quickly that Craven was not actually doing the tweeting himself – how could he, given it turned out to be one of the toughest races on the calendar.
Initially the phantom tweeter tried to convince the world that it was Craven’s famous beard using its magical powers to type into his smartphone and provide updates. But that didn’t really wash.
After the race Craven and his co-conspirator came clean, it was his partner Collyn Ahart.
Ahart said “I think my boyfriend went viral” after the twitter antics were widely shared on social media.
Craven himself clarified who was doing the updates, after some online media reported that he really was tweeting during the race: “Could never have imagined my idea & @collynahart’s amazing work to go viral – but seriously ppl. I wasn’t tweeting.”
Craven was among the large number of riders who did not finish, as Greg Van Avermaet took the victory for Belgium ahead of Jakob Fuglsang (Denmark) and Rafal Majka (Poland).
Craven spent several years racing in the UK with the Rapha Condor and Sigma Sport teams, and raced with Europcar until 2015. This season, he has been riding for the Israeli Cycling Academy Team where he acts as a mentor for younger riders.