A moment of appreciation for a Very Good Boy at the Tour de France

Meet Petrus, Arkea-Samsic's unofficial team mascot.

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At the Arkea-Samsic team bus, there’s a new drawcard. He’s tall, dark and handsome, with piercing blue eyes. He’s exceptionally well-behaved. He handles the pressure of the world’s biggest bike race unflinchingly. His name is Petrus, and we’re calling it: he’s the breakout star of this year’s Tour de France. 

Petrus – a black and tan Rottweiler cross, born on 11 June 2019 – is Hugo Hofstetter’s dog. As you can see, he’s a Very Good Boy. Maybe even the Best of Boys. 

Hofstetter, a French sprinter riding for a French team, is at something of an advantage at his home Grand Tour on the dog front. His girlfriend is able to duck into the race with Petrus, meeting Hofstetter at stage starts and finishes. So far, Petrus has made a cameo on at least three stages, sitting calmly with Hofstetter outside the Arkea team bus. 

The Tour de France isn’t Petrus’ first bike race, though – far from it. Since Hofstetter and his partner got him three years ago, as a big-wristed six week old, he was getting ready for life as a pro cyclist’s sidekick. “Straight away we [took him] to the criteriums and he saw a lot of people, so he’s used to it,” Hofstetter told CyclingTips on stage 8. “It’s always a pleasure when he’s here.”

Petrus’ first started getting the attention of the world’s cycling media at Nokere Koerse, when he ran leashed alongside Hofstetter to sign on, and joined Arkea-Samsic up on the podium at the pre-race team presentation. 

“After that, the press made an article with him,” Hofstetter explains, when asked if Petrus has any doggy friends in the peloton’s entourage. “[In that article] I saw then that Michael Matthews’ wife sometimes brings his dog to races, but she’s pretty small, the other dog.” [fact check: true. She is a long-haired dachshund called Gigi, also a Very Good Girl] “For my girlfriend it’s a little bit more difficult to bring him on the race,” Hofstetter continues.

When Petrus isn’t trailing his master at the Tour, he’s a dog of rarified tastes, with a taste for “rare meat,” according to Hofstetter. “He’s pretty difficult with the food, I have to say… he only eats what he loves.” Petrus also has an Instagram profile – because of course he does –that gives a glimpse of what seems to be a very happy life. He seems to like folding his too-big body into too-small chairs. He likes sitting on his people. He wore little socks last Christmas. He gets birthday candles and balloons

But his favourite thing of all? “He really enjoys when I’m at home,” Hofstetter explains affectionately. “Then, I go with him, with the bike, he’s running with me. We go sometimes one hour like this. This is his favourite thing, I think.”

Jonny Long contributed reporting. He is also a Very Good Boy.

An American in France

What’s it like to be an American cyclist living in France? Watch to get professional road cyclist Joe Dombrowski’s view.