WHEN professional cyclist Chris Bartlett crossed the finishing line triumphantly at the end of a race in southern Spain he was astonished to be presented with the first prize – a live piglet for the Christmas table.

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Thankfully, Chris, from Ipswich who races for the Metaltek team, has fallen for the porker, now named ‘Lucky Rapha’, and has decided to save its bacon.

A live piglet is a traditional prize for the winner of the pre-Christmas ‘I Carrera Ciclista del Cochinillo’ race in Huercal Overa, southern Spain where the 26-year-old was competing 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. I had no idea what the prize would be”, said Chris.

“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!’”

Chris who is due to fly back to the UK today had other ideas and struck up a deal with Ollie Watts, the English owner of his training camp, Kinetic PB, who has agreed to keep the pig on as a camp mascot.

“Lucky is already a big hit with the athletes who are staying at the camp who touch her for luck every morning”, said Ollie.

“She loves running around the place and is particularly interested in the bikes.

“She has to be the luckiest piglet alive and we are delighted to have helped save her from the chop.”

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