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Bingen Fernandez Vuelta Stage 8 Diary
By Staff
Date: 9/13/2003
Bingen Fernandez Vuelta Stage 8 Diary

Today began with lots of attacks and an uncomfortably fast pace but then there was peace. The calm before the storm. The war began on the Col de Portillon. The leader's group was well stacked with Cofidis riders - there was myself, Cuesta, Trentin, Atienza, and our leader Luis Perez. With just a kilometer and a half from the top, Cuesta started falling off the back and Trentin and I stayed with him so we could pull him back into the group. Unfortunately, we couldn't catch back up with them before the descent.

Luis Perez, Cofidis team leader. © Unipublic.


The early kilometers. © Unipublic.

The descent was like a Grand Prix. Iñigo Cuesta and I descended like madmen taking lots of risks. Guido Trentin stayed a safe 10 meters behind us, expecting one of us to crash at any minute. We breezed by Martinez from Paternina as if he wasn't moving. It was a wild ride down. At the bottom of the descent was a fairly sharp turn to the right and there was police there to help direct us to the right. We approached the turn super fast and I nearly rode into the police officer as I took the corner, scaring the daylights out of him. We caught up to the leader's group soon afterwards but on the final climb, the Alto Plá de Beret, things started to heat up. There were a few successful attacks - one with our teammate Perez. After being back in the group for only a few minutes we knew that it was not worth it to hang on any longer. We three gradually drifted off the back of the group to do the rest of the mountain at our own pace. It is nice sometimes to cross the finish line still feeling quite fresh. It doesn't happen very often.

During dinner Cuesta, Trentin and I had a good laugh recounting our daily adventures with our teammates and directors. We were certainly crazy to push the limits on the curvy descent - and what for? Did we really do that just to regroup with the pack for a few brief minutes, only to fall back to where we started? Yup, I guess so, but man, it was a good time.

Bingen Fernandez Bustinza
Yellow Jersey Tours

Approaching the feed zone. © Unipublic
[Click for larger image - it's big]

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