Only two days have passed so far at the Tour de France, yet we have already have two unlikely candidates who have stolen the show. No, we are not talking about Belgium’s Jan Bakelants, who won the 2nd leg for the Radioshack Leopard team today. Rather we are talking about a dog and a bus, two figures no one would have guessed could steal the show at a bike race.
It began during the first stage, Gary Atxa, the driver for the Australian team Orica-GreenEdge, arrived late to the finish line of the event on Saturday. Attempting to make up for lost time, he wedged his bus underneath a metal frame hanging over the finish line. Eventually able to free his vehicle from the finish, he would cause several race altering consequences as a result.
A crash occurred as a result of his bus being stuck, seeing stars and contenders such as Alberto Contador hit the pavement. His team was fined 2,000 Swiss Francs, or $2,116 for his driving mishaps.
Proof that he stole the show with his bus driving mishaps, reporters swarmed to the bus drivers instead of the cyclists themselves as they arrived for the second leg of the race today.
Interviewed by Eurosport, a European sports network, Atxa revealed that “This was my first day driving the bus, so it’s not a good start. I tried to sleep, but I had a lot on my mind.” It’s hard to imagine a tougher start than that to a new job, and his fellow drivers have reached out and given him support.
Driver David Deroo, of Argos-Shimano, explained that “Every bus driver makes a mistake. Every day it’s a stressful job for everyone here on the race. For the mechanic, for the soigneur. But you see how big our vehicle is and how expensive it is. It’s a big responsibility we have.”
When it appeared that the cyclists themselves would regain the focus they had lost to the bus driver in day one of the Tour de France, a dog emerged to steal the show once again.
Just a few kilometers from the finish line, a dog escaped from his owner’s leash and ran onto the track. The field was closing in on the turn where the dog was loose, just as the owner attempted to run out and grab his dog. A major collision was avoided, although the man and his dog were stuck in the middle of the entire middle pack of riders as they peddled past. No one was injured in the incident.
So far the Tour de France has completed two legs, yet the show has been stolen by both a dog and a bus already. It’s hard to imagine a scenario where another unlikely figure can emerge as a star of the day tomorrow, however it wouldn’t be surprising given how the race has played out thus far.
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Senior Sports Editor
The Guardian Express