Bingen Fernandez Vuelta Journal - Stories of a Fire
Bingen's Vuelta a España Journal stage 4. Ahead the Covadonga... It was in a
moment soon after that Garate said to me, "let’s attack to mess with them and
make them nervous. Let’s see how they react to that."
From the start I had a desire to seek out a fire, seek out a breakaway,
seek out some excitement. It was a beautiful stage and on top of it the
temperature was more tolerable which for me meant everything. To seek out the
fire I needed to be in pole position from the start, but that is the easy part.
It is more difficult to know which moment would be the good moment.
Just a few meters from the foot of the first climb I went with another rider but
the peloton swallowed us up shortly. Maybe it was not a good idea to start a big
climb with a heart rate of 190. Shortly after I saw another attack and a group
of eight or so forming and I knew it was the moment to give it everything I had
because it had the looks of being a good group. I broke away and bridged up to
the group and we took off with speed but a few of the riders in the group kept
looking back expecting to be caught.
We reached the top and descended fast and
no sooner did we hit the flat that I saw that this would be the end. This would
not be the good breakaway as not everyone was into it and we could not organize
so the attacking began. I went with Karpin, but we were not able to get more
than a minute on the group so we decided to hold up and wait for the group. We
were surprised to see that they were still attacking each other.
We rejoined them and gained a good 6 minutes on the peloton. In the end the
group was about 35 but in reality it was a bit of a disaster. It would go
strong, then slow, pull hard just to stop again. "!que coño! We work or
we don’t! I called to the director and suggested that Chavanel and Monfort join
the group so we could work at the front and make something out of this break.
The director was not convinced but after my insistence he said he would talk to
a few of the other teams and see if we could not get a few partners to
collaborate with. As always not everyone wants to work, however I did find a
small group of riders that were looking to work. As the kilometers passed there
was just 5 of us working in the front: two from Quick Step (Garate, Engels), one
Liquigas (Vanotti), one Karpin (Garcia) and myself.
It was in a moment soon after that Garate said to me, "let’s attack to mess
with them and make them nervous. Let’s see how they react to that."
He was right. Let’s make them open their mouth for air as they chase down our
wheel. In that moment three of us that were pulling attacked and
Garate and I sat back to see what the reaction was. Two riders yelled, asking us
what we were doing, which we responded by saying that we were doing what we
wanted. One not of just being a wheel sucker, want to criticize the way
we work the front?
Things finally started to move and there were attacks again to chase down the
three off the front. When we caught the three riders AG2R sent up a rider to
work the front with us. It was welcomed. With only 25 kilometers to the last
climb and to the finish of our stage (and I say our stage because up until then
it was only a few of us who were working to make it) we knew that we had to give
it our last and climb like tigers, or at least as much as we could.
The peloton was eating time away but we still had 2 min 40 seconds which was
good. Soon enough a rider from Frances de Jeux put himself at the front with us,
and I thought, "Hmmmm….how odd that he should come up to the front now," but just as I
thought that I say the flag for the Meta Volante. Imagine that. In the last Meta
Volante the same thing happened. I was irked and could not help but say, "Hey!
Now that we have let you pass first for point WAIT. WAIT. Now the least you can
do is stay and take a pull at the front." It worked, and considering that he has
fresh legs the rider took a strong pull at the front.
We were arriving at Lagos de Cavadonga and we did not have much energy left but at
least we were able to maintain time. We arrived at the first big incline cooked
and opened up to the left as if we had hit a wall. But that was the end anyway.
We had done our work and now it was the moment of the leader’s teams to take
over. All we had to do was climb….but that seemed easier said than done - even
slowly - I did not have much left in my legs.
Bingen Bustinza Fernandez is a member of the Cofidis
Team currently racing in the Vuelta with team mates: Stéphane Auge, Sylvain
Chavanel Sylvain, Leonardo Duque, Maryan Hary ,Gorffrey Lequatre, Sébastien
Minard, Maxime Monfort and Damien Monier.
Currently, after stage 10, the team has two riders in the top 15 Maxime Monfort in 12th and Sylvain Chavanel in 14th. Leonardo Duque and
Bingen are currently in 61rst and 62nd after ten stages. Leonardo has had
3 top ten finishes in the first week and a podium appearance after stage 2
where he was third after Freire and Bettini. Chavanel and Monfort for
their effort counted three top ten performances in the first week a good start
for the Cofidis team in the Vuelta.
Photo c. Bart Hazen
Co-owner & Guide of Gruppetto Tours
Bingen is co-owner and president of Gruppetto Tours. Bingen has been a
professional cyclist since 1996. Bingen guides and helps coordinate every trip
ensuring that each guest has the pro-like experience. He is riding his 12th
season for the French team Cofidis.
Gruppetto Tours can boast the same care in their
tours and training camps that professional riders experience complete with
current and former professional riders as the guides; Jo Planckaert, Igor
Flores, and current pro rider Nikane Xuen Mallea - Co-owner, Coordinator &
Guide. The soigneur and mechanic have equal professional team backgrounds and
More information: Gruppetto
We will be catching up with Bingen's Journals in the next few days as they
were overlooked in the first week.