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Bingen Fernández Vuelta Journals: ITT and Rest Day
By Staff
Date: 9/20/2004
Bingen Fernández Vuelta Journals: ITT and Rest Day

Stage 15
Granada ITT

Today we talked with the team mechanic and asked him for 26 rings in the rear. "What, a 26?" We assured him that we really did want a 26 in the back.

"What, do you want to find yourself out of the time limit? A 23 will be good enough," he replied.

"Please put on the 26s, we have a reason for asking," we said. Yesterday I am sure things looked easy from the inside of the car, but they have no idea how much we all suffered through yesterday's stage [Stage 14: Málaga - Granada]. At some points during yesterday's stage we could barely turn a good cadence and it almost seemed faster just to walk. The mechanic finally understood.

"Ok, I think I will swap your 11 and 12 for a 25 and 26," he said as he set to work.

I am not sure why they worry. Certainly if the legs are feeling good then I will just shift into a lower ring, but when you don't have a bigger ring to shift into, that is when there is a problem.

The team director showed up to chat about the time controls. It was estimated that we has about 19 minutes before going over the time limit. Seems like a lot, but for an ITT like this, it wasn't. It was a tough stage, and if anything went wrong or was simply just a bad day, then you would win a ticket home.

I started to warm up, but I was so tired and my legs were really sore. I was suffering enough just going easy on the trainer. Luckily, 5 minutes into the warm-up I felt a bit better. Before departure I had to have my bike weighed and measured. As we were all standing around looking at how much each bike weighed, we jokingly asked why they just didn't make a note of what each bike weighed and just tell us which bike out of the bunch would win. The commissioner was super serious though, and didn't answer.

During these big races, the commissioners are very, very serious. Hopefully when the day is over they let loose a bit, maybe even laugh. The rider's bike in front of me, David Latasa, weighed in at 8.2 kilos, the rider behind me, Rabobank's Pieter Weening's bike, weighed 8.1 and mine weighed 7.7 kilos. Pufff! I guess they are going to have a miserable ride!! We were joking and laughing just enough that the commissioner, Mr. Serious, actually started laughing with us.

The Rabobank rider passed me later so I guess a lighter bike isn't everything. Haha. Truthfully, yesterday's ITT is best described as a `horror´ because it was so difficult for everyone. It was just too much. After the race, at the team busses, it was sad to see everyone's faces. People were so exhausted, so lifeless. To make the day worse, we had a long transfer and did not arrive at our hotel until 9:30. We had a quick dinner and climbed into bed. Luckily we had a rest day to look forward to.

Rest Day #2
20 September 2004

The Cofidis Vuelta team training on the second rest for larger image.

Close up of the team training. Click for larger image.

Bikes on their rest day. Click for larger image.

They look tired too, don't they? Click for larger image.

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