Tour de France: The Bad News, via Twitter


[7:30 a.m.: The update to Levi Leipheimer’s broken wrist: He’s having surgery. And he’s reporting on it–both tweeting and posting pictures: See @LeviLeipheimer at Twitter and levileipheimer’s images at Yfrog. The image above is captioned, “This is 22mm Titanium screw!” So the new model of an event-ending injury is get hurt, get diagnosis, get treatment, and show the whole world the process. Video with expert commentary can’t be far behind.]

Earlier post: A little after the sun comes up on the West Coast in about five hours, just about anyone who cares will know the bad news from the Tour de France: Levi Leipheimer is out of the race with a broken wrist. It’s a potentially race-changing injury: Leipheimer figured to be a key to the victory chances for his team’s co-non-leaders, Lance Armstrong and Alberto Contador. And if one of them faltered, he has developed into the kind of tough competitor who might have a shot at the overall Tour victory himself.

It’s interesting how the bad news broke. At 12:25 a.m. PDT, or 9:25 a.m. in France, Lance Armstrong sent out a Twitter message: “Woke up to bad news. Levi is out with a broken wrist. Damn..”

At 12:28 a.m. PDT, Astana team director Johan Bruyneel sent out his own message: “Starting the day with bad news… Levi has a fracture of the scaphoid (wrist). Not good!”

And at 12:33 a.m. came word from Leipheimer himself: “My wrist is broken. I can’t describe how disapointed I am.”

Anyone who’s following race news this way knows the basics of the story now. Meantime, a full half hour after Armstrong broke the story–and that sheds some light on what Twitter does to news–even the rapidly updated Google News is behind. They have a full palette of stories describing Leipheimer’s crash yesterday just before the finish, and a display quote in which he talks about escaping serious injury:  “My wrist hurts, but surprisingly it’s OK. It could have been a lot worse,” … “I was a bit surprised by a left corner …… my tire was sliding and I couldn’t quite save my bike from sliding out”

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