Nowadays, there aren't really any working dogs at the monastery but Saint Bernards still have a presence for tourism's sake. It was only fitting that the (then) leader, Alberto Contador, would pose with the Working breed before continuing up the doggie passes, the first time in over 40 years that it's been included in the cycling challenge.
Jul 22 2009 Are you following the Tour de France? Admittedly, I'm barely brushed up on the race but Tuesday's ride for Stage 16 included two major mountain passes of special importance to me — Grand-Saint-Bernard and Petit-Saint-Bernard! The greater climb is 8,100 feet (the highest pass on the tour), followed by the little one at 7,180 which is more long than steep. As history would have it, the pass gets a name from Bernard of Menthon, an 11th-century monk who established a hospice over the pass, where the slobbery breed would help travelers cross with the aid of the iconic barrels of whisky.