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Bingen Fernandez Vuelta Stage 15: Objetivo: Llegar
By Staff
Date: 9/21/2003
Bingen Fernandez Vuelta Stage 15: Objetivo: Llegar

Objetivo: Llegar. Object: To Finish.

Today we felt blessed that the attacks did not begin at the start line. Instead they began at 700m. What a welcome change! It started off the same this afternoon with a fast pace and lots of attacks until the first successful attack. The US Postal Team took position at the pelotonís head and began work. The speed hovered just above everyoneís comfort zone and to make things worse there was a sidewind. Postal took the hint and everyone was forced to the left in single file. Postalís Josť Luis Rubiera, whom we just call "Chechu," was ahead of Cuesta and I and we yelled up to him, "Hey Chechu, tell those guys in the front to go to the right side of the road for a change." So he did. Chechu got on his radio and told the Postal crew to ride on the right - which they did! This helped everyone a lot as we were able to create a better draft. Instead of a long line we formed a happy blob.

© Unipublic

© Unipublic

After we passed through the town of Jaťn there was the smell of good and bad things in the air. Jaťn is in a region famous for its olive oil and the smell of it filled the air. We could also smell that the race was going to change from here on out and would meet our fortune. This is where the serious race began and at what incredible speed. The peloton was torn into five groups immediately.

There were many tired riders today - me being one of them. When I arrived at the finish I put on a few extra layers and desended back down the same mountain to the Cofidis bus. On the way down I passed many other riders still on the climb. The suffering that showed on many riders faces today was hard to see. When you are riding well you may suffer but you can still stay in the front pack. Nozalís suffering can not be compared to the suffering that other riders who are suffering just to finish the stage, just to keep from giving up. When you are suffering like this the stages seem to be endless.

© Unipublic

© Unipublic

The grupetto is where you make friends however, and everyone helps each other out. It is not uncommon for riders to help push a cohort in need, or give them water, food and encouragment. You can not imagine how difficult it is sometimes for many riders, even when they are in the grupetto, to make it to the finish. The grupetto may come in at 20, 30 or 40 minutes behind but there are usually many riders who have just barely held on. On bad days some riders just hope to make it within the time control to the finish, just so they will be one more stage closer to the tourís finish in Madrid.

Bingen Fernandez Bustinza
Yellow Jersey Tours

Bingen Fernandez Bustinza today. © Unipublic

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