Monday, July 1, 2013

How a Little White Doggy Bestowed a Big Yellow Jersey

Thank goodness for high definition, because yesterday's near flattening of a boob Corsican's little white doggy was caught perfectly by the cameras.  First, we see the dog dart out in front of the break, a tantalizing glimpse of Death's looming scythe.  The break safely past, the dog's mouth-breathing owner lurches toward the animal.  A mistake, since now the two are both square in the path of the peleton, which is only 8 seconds behind the break.

The owner hears the freehubs, hearkens to the danger.  Screw the cute doggie, he thinks, and jumps, abandoning his little terrier to death by carbon impalement.

A glorious scene: the dog, alone, facing down 20 tons of roaring flesh and carbon with all the aplomb of Tennyson's Light Brigade.  The doggy waits, unperturbed, tail wagging furiously, coiled for the stick to be thrown.

And it is thrown, in the form of Peter Sagan and 50 men at 40mph bearing down at him.  At the last minute he hops, dodges not once, but twice, when the wheel is within inches of his cute little snout, darts laterally like Barry Sanders in his prime.

The little white doggy's stunt happens around 47 minutes in:

Did the dog stare-down cause the field to slow?  I think it does, although only a second.

That second was, of course, all Bakelants needed to win and don yellow.  While his victory was unexpected and seemingly impressive, Bakelants forgot to thank one essential contributor to his victory--the little white doggy that faced down the charging peleton.

Although yesterday's incident ranks alone for dog-in-Tour drama, dogs as obstacles hit or nearly hit are essential to the Tour.

Last year a Newfoundlander brought down Phillipe Gilbert and several others.

As much as I don't like seeing riders fall or dogs struck, the aftermath of this particular occasion--particularly the confrontation between Gilbert and the dog's family--is certainly as ripe with emotion as any Old Master hanging in the Louvre.

When it comes to the Tour, 2007 is famous for being the Year of the Dog.  Two separate bike-on-dog incidents marked that race.  A dog tackled Sandy Cesar, removing him from a breakaway:
A golden lab crumpled Marcus Burghardt's front wheel.

Sheep have also interfered with the Tour, as they did last year on stage 17:

Yesterday's little white dog drama changed the course of the race, and offered an unexpected thrill on the world's biggest stage.  Bakelants' win was special (as the Hulk said, "only in bike racing could that happen").  It reveals something wonderful about our sport--the world, including animals, may interfere with its outcome.  Imagine sheep wandering through the NBA Finals or across Wrigley Field!  They can and do wander through the Tour.

Bakelants won yesterday's stage and the jersey, but ASO should send the idiot Corsican owner and his perky little pooch a big yellow bone.

1 comment:

Tom said...

Two or three years ago, a chicken crossed the road through the Cat 4 race at Murad (if I recall correctly).

I don't know why.