BRIVE-LA-GAILLARDE, France (AFP) — The stray dog is one of the peloton’s biggest fears and it came to painful life for Philippe Gilbert on the 18th stage of the Tour de France.
Gilbert, who wore the yellow jersey of the race leader last year, was among several riders brought down in a spill at the 120km mark of the 226km race from Blagnac to Brive-la-Gaillarde on Friday.
A family watching the race go past saw their huge dog, which some riders later compared to “a pony,” run out into the road.
It brought several riders down and left BMC’s Gilbert with a sore shoulder. He hopes his Olympic road race hopes for July 28 will not suffer.
“I hurt my elbow and my hip but it’s my shoulder that is quite sore. Plus we have a 400km transfer by bus tonight — not ideal for recovering,” said Gilbert.
“The most important thing is that nothing’s broken for the Olympic Games next week. That’s my biggest worry.”
Gilbert eventually got back on his bike to resume racing and receive treatment by medical staff, but not before giving the dog owner a piece of his mind.
He added: “I wanted to hit them, but (team manager) John Lelangue managed to calm me. Afterwards I was really annoyed.
“What can you do against people who insist on standing to watch the race with a dog that size that isn’t on a lead? It’s not right. The proof is it caused an accident.”
Lelangue said shortly after the accident: “His hand has been injured a little as well as his elbow and knee. The dog was stronger than him, and it won that bout, but the important thing is that he could return to his place in the peloton.”