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Bingen Fernandez Diary: Stage 11
By Staff
Date: 9/17/2003
Bingen Fernandez Diary: Stage 11

Usually the stage after a rest day everyone is excited to start racing - everyone’s legs feel good and rested and the mind is a little clearer.

Before we had even covered one kilometer of the race there was an attack and I went with them. There were seven of us early birds and we rode hard with the taste of blood in our throat. We stayed away for 16 kilometers before being swallowed again by the peloton.

© Unipublic.

Once the peloton regrouped there were many other fruitless attacks until the last 25kms. As the last mountain neared, the peloton was ripped to shreds as we formed an echelon. Luckily, or unluckily, there were several of us Cofidis riders that were able to stay in the front group.

© Unipublic.

At the start of the last mountain I was riding in the fourth position in front of our leader, Luis Perez. As luck would have it, we went down in a crash as we cornered a round-about. I got up as quickly as I could and ran over to help Luis up and put the chain back on his bike and send him off. Unfortunately, the crash had cost precious time and he lost a minute on the first group.

The crash hit me hard emotionally and I am very unsettled by it. Our leader’s race is our race; it is much harder to see your leader go down than it is to go down yourself. We all hope that by tomorrow Perez will be able to ride without too much of a set back.

You can count on Luis sleeping on his right side and I on my left tonight. I am off for more ice.

Bingen Fernandez Bustinza
Yellow Jersey Tours

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