Cyclist Brings Home the Bacon—Literally

Pro cyclist wins a piglet, makes him into mascot
Staff Writer

Lance Armstrong won nearly $4 million from his tainted Tour de France victories. Spanish cyclist Alejandro Valverde won his weight (roughly 130 lbs) in cheese for his win at the 2008 Paris-Camembert. But British pro Chris Bartlett, much to his surprise, won a suckling piglet for his pre-Christmas victory in Spain's 50km 'I Carrera Ciclista del Cochinillo.

Bartlett, 26, was training in southern Spain with his teammates from UK team Metaltek Scott, when he entered the local race as part of his winter training schedule. "There's nothing like a competitive race to keep your fitness levels up, so when I saw the race advertised, I entered," he said in a team press release.

"After I'd won and the official handed me the pig, I said, 'What am I supposed to do with it?' He said, 'Eat it!'" With Christmas just nine days off, it was intended for the Christmas table. But Bartlett was charmed by the little porker, and instead decided to save her bacon.

He struck a bargain with Ollie Watts, the British owner of his training camp, Kinetic PB, who agreed to keep the pig on as camp mascot. "Lucky Rapha's [her given name] already a big hit with the athletes who are staying at the camp who touch her for luck every morning," Watts said in the same press release. "She has to be the luckiest pig alive, and we are delighted to have helped save her from the chop."

Here's a video of the pig doing its thing around the Kinetic digs (we take no credit/blame for the Dave Matthews "Pig" soundtrack):