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Bingen Fernández: Vuelta Journal Stage 10
By Staff
Date: 9/14/2004
Bingen Fernández: Vuelta Journal Stage 10

Stage 10: Xorret de Cati
Different Kinds of Water

What do you think those who saw the classifications yesterday morning were thinking? Maybe that because it was a flat stage, that there would be a sprint finish. Those that were at the front for the finish were sprinters, which would be normal but how it happened was not normal. Odd for one reason. At one point during the stage there was a strong side wind and Luis Perez was at the rear of the peloton so we escorted him up to the front of the bunch - and just in time. The rider in front of Stuey attacked and he followed his wheel - Zabel and Freire saw O’Grady escape and immediately took off after him. The fish jersey was up for grabs at the intermediate sprint and they could not let him go out front alone. What surprised us all is that that group finished ahead of the peloton. Not normal. (I am sure that Daily Peloton was able to better describe what happened.)

Water is essential on days like today that are very hot. It was already very hot by the time that we started the stage. We were all drinking a lot of water and even before we had ridden 50kms we needed to replenish our supply. Not so easy to do though, since regulation prohibits riders from going back to their team cars and getting water. There was a breakaway and the peloton mellowed out a bit, which offered the opportunity to go back and get water.

Although it is not a personal habit of mine, a lot of other riders like to pour water over their heads to cool down. Squirting water through your helmet seems to drench the rider behind more than anything anyway, which can get irritating sometimes, especially when they mess up your sunglasses. If there is something that irks me, it is messy sunglasses. One reason that I always carry lens paper in my jersey pocket in case I need to clean my lenses. This is an example of undesired water.

If you find yourself in a grupetto suffering, your director will more than likely show up to give you a fresh bottle of water. Why is this? Well, it is not always to replenish your supply. Normally when you reach for the bottle you just hold on to it for awhile - instead of holding on the team car for a bit of relief, you just hold on to the bottle and let it pull you. This always helps the group pick up the pace a little and avoid disaster. This is an example of helpful water.

Another class of undesired water usually comes in the form of rain, or downpours. No one normally cares much for rain, especially in the last few kilometers when the pace is fast. Normally right before the rain starts we get a cold sensation that is out of the ordinary. This is much like coming in on a 90 degree day and opening the refrigerator for relief. In this part of Spain, rain means rain! The road looks more like a swimming pool with 10cm deep of water that we have to pedal through.

Well, this evening when the classifications were handed out at dinner, we noticed that there were a few fines that were given out by UCI. Today, Jaunma Garate of Lampre was seen taking water around kilometer 35. I talked with Garate and asked him what happened; he said that he went back to get water but the hand off was done so that the UCI commission would not see - or so they thought.

The Lampre director had stuck the water bottle into a hat, which Garate took and stuck into the front part of his jersey. He rode back up to the peloton and made sure that he was well hidden before taking it out of his jersey. What he didn’t know is that when the director handed him the hat, a motorcycle with an UCI official had followed him to see if it was really a water bottle. Okay, so rules are in place for a reason, but to hunt down offenders like this is a bit over the top! This was certainly a very expensive bottle of water for Garate.

Bingen Fernández
Yellow Jersey Tours

Anyone who guesses how much the fine was may just be the winner of the offending water bottle signed by Juanma Garate! Email the Daily Peloton with the subject line Juanma Guess by 12 noon Pacific Time Thursday, 16 September, and if you are the first to guess correctly, Bingen will send you the water bottle!

Related Articles
Bingen Fernández's Vuelta Journal: Day One
Vuelta a Espana Journals: Bingen Fernández
Bingen Fernández: Vuelta Journals Stage 6 and 8

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