In search of the real @tadejpogacar
It is happening again.
It is happening again.
In the heat of battle at the Tour de France, all it takes just one lapse in concentration for a mistake to be made. Yesterday, it was Geraint Thomas’s turn.
It wasn’t that he rode badly in stage 17 – in fact, he did pretty well, shoring up his third position on the GC and giving a characterful interview afterward. No, the mistake was made slightly after that: on the team bus, with his fingers on the smartphone.
Pretty innocuous, right? Alas, not so. Geraint Thomas had tweeted at the wrong Tadej Pogačar, who – presumably very much not for the first time – found his Twitter mentions filled with well-meaning strangers in tight clothing offering their unsolicited feedback on a bike race he’s not participating in.
Geraint Thomas should’ve known better, because he himself is constantly misidentified on social media. Last year I spoke to the owner of the Twitter handle @geraintthomas – a nice man in Wales who is a lecturer in visual effects – who is constantly barraged with cycling content he has no interest in. I had very much enjoyed that interaction, and I was beyond thrilled that something like it was happening again.
It was time to uncross the Tadej Pogačar Twitter wires.
Tadej Pogačar – the cyclist, whose Twitter handle is @tamaupogi – is an accomplished user of social media, adept in the dark art of memes and shitposting.
Tadej Pogačar – the random kid whose Twitter handle is @tadejpogacar – poses in front of a snowy mountain vista wearing a warm blue jacket and a well-tended fade. To his left is a statue of a goat with enormous horns. He is doing a hand symbol that has been co-opted by the far right, but given the timeline (he joined in February 2015) I think we can assume he is just a kid doing kid things.
@tadejpogacar is not a prolific Twitter user, which is to say that he has never sent a standalone tweet. Lacking that primary insight into his personality, we go deeper.
‘Tweets & replies’ – the section of his public profile that allows us to see whether he has ever replied to any other tweets – unearths one nugget, from June 2018:
His ‘Likes’ has more recent activity, although not much. In February 2021, @tadejpogacar was one of 520,000 people that tapped a heart on an Elon Musk tweet about buying some cryptocurrency (Dogecoin), for one of his ever-growing horde of children (a human boy literally called ‘X Æ A-12 Musk’), “so he can be a toddler hodler”, a statement that loses me.
27 May 2020: Star Wars actor John Boyega noted that he “really fucking [hates] racists.” @tadejpogacar, along with 1.8 m others, agreed with this sentiment. CyclingTips endorses this like.
14 May 2019: someone called @zero_vibeszz wrote ‘Lol’ in response to a tweet from prolific porn star Riley Reid. @tadejpogacar and one other person liked this comment. I am too much of a coward to look at Riley Reid’s original tweet on company time.
There are a few more likes that provide further evidence of an interest in the video games Fortnite and Pokemon Go, and that’s about it. In total, in the six years we know he has been active on Twitter, he has liked ten things and written one. At time of writing, he is followed by 278 people, most of whom think they’re following two-time Tour de France champion Tadej Pogačar. He follows 8 accounts: Elon Musk, Youtuber/rapper/boxer/drinks mogul @KSI, and six adult entertainers who are, according to one bio, “only here to be pervy and nasty”.
That is the sum total of what we know about @tadejpogacar, a young man who kept his fingers busy with video games and adolescent fumblings while his namesake became one of the greatest cyclists of his generation.
We do not know where @tadejpogacar lives, or whether he has any interest in cycling. We do not know how he reacted to 10.3 k likes or 202 retweets on a tweet by former Tour de France champion Geraint Thomas. We do not know if his pornographic tastes have devolved in ever more deviant directions.
We DO know that he has an unlikely ally on the internet – the other Geraint Thomas, who knows exactly what he’s going through:
And sometimes, all you need is a friend (and a handheld gaming console, and an OnlyFans subscription).