Peloton Watch
  Hannah Walker Blog: Social media takeover by spannawalker at Tour of Britain  
  October 16th 2015 by Hannah Walker  
  Back in June I swapped my cycling kit for a skirt and shirt and worked on the Women's Tour as the podium manager, presenting the jerseys, trophies and champagne to the riders. Pete, the PR and Marketing Director asked if I'd like to do a 'spannawalker' take over on Instagram for the rest of the week, so I did! I was able to capture pictures behind the scenes including riders preparing for the race, the crowds and anything I thought might interest the fans. I really enjoyed working with the team at Sweetspot and that brings me to my experience at the Aviva Tour of Britain back in September.

Initially I was asked to work along side Pete as a PR and Marketing assistant, setting up the media centre at the start of stages, helping the media by showing them where to be at the start, the best areas to take pictures or how they're able to get interviews with riders as a lot of the media who attended each day weren't regular cycling journalists or photographers. I was also there to keep the content on Instagram updated as well just like I did on the Aviva Women's Tour, this time I found it a lot easier to know what the fans enjoyed seeing each day and I had more of an eye of what I'd like to see if I was a fan sat at home eagerly awaiting updates on the race.

On both the men's and women's tour my work on social media was made easier from my knowledge of riders from either racing against the women in Britain or abroad or seeing the British men's teams at British races such as the Tour Series, so it helped me to know their palmares and what kind of rider they are. With regards to the World Tour and Pro Continental riders, I watch and follow as many races as I can and I'm always checking results online so during the Tour of Britain this helped me give viewers and followers a bit of history about a rider who'd won that day's stage or who was in the breakaway!

At stage finishes I would escort riders from the podium ceremony to the media centre for the press conference, once riders had finished talking to the media in the press conference, I worked along side a videographer called Rhodri, and we'd get interviews with riders who'd featured in that day's stage, we'd always try and get the stage winner as well as a rider who was in the breakaway or a jersey holder. I loved finding out what riders thought of the stage or what they were looking forward to later in the week!

Love this picture from after today's finish with @edvaldbh 📷: Larry Hickmott #avivatob2015 #tourofbritain

A photo posted by Hannah Walker (@spannawalker) on

It wasn't just riders Rhodri and I interviewed, we got a day in the life of a mechanic, soigneurs, director sportif and a cribs style tour of the Etixx-Quickstep team bus! It's really interesting for myself as well as fans following the Tour of Britain what happens behind the scenes, the work staff have to do to help the riders perform 100%, getting up at 5.30am and not going to sleep until gone 11.30pm, preparing food, drinks, bikes, race plans for the following days stage.

For four days of my time at the Aviva Tour of Britain I was lucky enough to go in a press car and three team cars, including Team Cannondale-Garmin, Team WIGGINS and MTN-Qhubeka. I was able to do all the race updates for Twitter and Instagram from the car as I was hearing the information over race radio. On the penultimate day because Edvald Boasson-Hagen, of MTN-Qhubeka was in the Aviva yellow jersey we were team car number one, so I saw all the action at the back of the peloton, numerous punctures, bike changes, feeding from the car and roadside as well as natural breaks. It showed me how easy (the riders certainly made it look easy anyway!) it is to get back to the peloton, even so close to the end of the race. Within the team car it was fascinating hearing stories from the DS's racing in the past, how many races they've won, or who the mechanic has previously worked with. It was particularly interesting in the MTN-Qhubeka car with Michel Cornelisse getting to know what races he'd won, 60 pro races in total, the famous races he's ridden and how he was a private taxi driver so he could still DS for an amateur team and have time off work whenever he liked before he turned Pro as a DS with Vacansoleil for five years.

Overall my time at the Aviva Tour of Britain was fantastic and as a rider myself I was able to learn so much that you wouldn't see whilst being a rider in the peloton and also gain more valuable experience within the social media world. The funniest part of the week would have to be making a post race video with Taylor Phinney, Danilo Wyss and Stefan Küng after they had a tour of Floors Castle, a fun and chilled team. You can watch the video here

I'd like to thank Pete and the Sweetspot team for making my week a memorable one and hopefully this is only the start!


You can follow Hannah on social media
Twitter: @spannawalker
Instagram: spannawalker
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