Tour de France spectator brings his bear to watch the race


Race leader Astana team rider Vincenzo Nibali of Italy pushes away a spectator as he cycles to win the 145.5km 18th stage of the Tour de France. (Christian Hartmann/Reuters)

Many of those who come out to watch the Tour de France are known to be a bit strange. There’s usually a guy who thinks running alongside the cyclists with lit flares is a good idea. Then there’s the half-naked dudes with their country’s pride scrolled out in magic marker across their chests. This year we also saw the addition of a serenading violinist along the road. But has there ever been a bear?

There has now.

Tour de France officials spotted this furry guy on Stage 18, which traveled through the Pyrenees mountains between France and Spain. But don’t be fooled. While real, the bear may not actually be alive. Some are claiming it was a stuffed sidekick of another spectator.

Taxidermy or not, either way it’s weird, but luckily it didn’t seem to catch the attention of the cyclists, who didn’t veer off the road screaming. Astana team leader Vincenzo Nibali of Italy ended up winning the stage and practically securing his spot as this year’s winner. Of course, with three stages left, one never knows what may happen. Someone may bring out a hippopotamus or something…

Marissa Payne writes for The Early Lead, a fast-breaking sports blog, where she focuses on what she calls the “cultural anthropological” side of sports, aka “mostly the fun stuff.” She is also an avid WWE fan.
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Marissa Payne · July 24