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Bingen Fernandez: The Day After the Vuelta
By Staff
Date: 9/29/2003
Bingen Fernandez: The Day After the Vuelta

The last day of the Vuelta was more of a celebration for us all. Everyone was joking with each other from the start. At one point Paternina’s Ferrio ("Balilla") rode in the saddle of Kelme’s Gutierrez’s ("Guti") bike, which was certainly a sight to be seen. Ferrio is one of the tallest in the peloton and Guti is the shortest.

So you might wonder what happened to Guti’s bike while this was happening. Balilla´s teammate Golbano was riding with his bike slung over his shoulder. He moved to the front of the peloton with it, saying, "Service. Service," which is what we say when we are bringing water, etc., up to the front. If you haven’t seen the photo of it yet, check it out.

Graham Watson photo and caption: Jorge Ferrio stole a ride with Jose Enrigue Gutierrez when the commissaires' backs were turned...

© Unipublic

At one point ONCE sent all their riders to the front and Nozal attacked. Immediately Postal Service tightened up a bit and moved to the front of the peloton, unsure as to what had happened was a joke or what. Nozal stayed out for longer than just 500 meters and even his teammates began to wonder what was up. ONCE’s riders started calling up to Nozal on the radio telling him that enough was enough and to come back...he didn’t, and a few kilometers went by before he let up and let the peloton catch him. Nozal pulled the best joke of the day - not even his teammates were certain after a while if it was still a joke or not.

Graham Watson photo and caption: The fun and games ended after 85-kilometres when Nozal suddenly this a joke, everyone asked?

Graham Watson photo and caption: While the Postal team debate whether to chase, Nozal's teamate, Igor Gonzalez De Galdeano, rides to the front and then radios Nozal to worked, and Nozal stopped his "joke"...

Of course it wasn’t a relaxing day for everyone. With two intermediate sprints before the finish, the point jersey was still up for grabs; Zabel and Valverde still had a real race to ride. Once we entered into the city of Madrid the real race did begin and the velocity increased. The ambience in Madrid was great. The circuit was very attractive and jam packed with spectators, making it a lot of fun.

Graham Watson photo and caption: The Vuelta races past the famous Correos building in the Plaza de Independencia.

On the circuit, 600 meters from the finish line, there was a cobblestone section that we passed over every loop we made. Because of the vibrations, our water bottles would creep up in their cages. It became hilarious, as we would all reach down at the same time to shove our bottles back down in the cages again.

On the last day everyone is anxious to leave and head home. I think that it would be nice to stay together as a team for the last night and celebrate together. I had planned to spend the night in Madrid with a few other riders who had to wait for flights home, but even I was lured by the thought of home.

A few last endnotes:

Yesterday Laiseka ruined his streak and finished in the same time as Petacchi. I was joking with him beforehand that he should come in a second or two behind the group. Laiseka has had the intent to finish in the same time every stage but yesterday was the only day that it was possible.

This was my teammate Angelo Lopeboselli’s first big race, which he finished. Congratulations Lope!

Bingen Fernandez Bustinza
Yellow Jersey Tours

Editor's Note: Muchas Gracias to Bingen Fernandez for taking the time each day after the Vuelta stage to give us an inside look at a Grand Tour peloton. If you have enjoyed his diaries, you can thank him yourself by sending him an email.

The Cofidis Vuelta team has also graciously provided a signed Cofidis jersey as the prize for our Vuelta writing contest (click link below for contest info). Thanks, guys!

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Announcing the Vuelta Writing Contest!
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