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Archive for Saturday, July 11, 2009

Update from the Tour de France, stage 7

July 11, 2009

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At least one of the cyclists in the Tour de France has ties to Lawrence.

Bingen Fernandez Bustinza, a 14th-year Spanish pro who rides for the French Cofidis cycling team, is a regular offseason visitor to Lawrence. Last fall, for instance, he spent several weeks here visiting his girlfriend, Nikane Mallea.

He participated in some of the regular group rides of the Lawrence Bicycle Club and developed a bit of a following among local cyclists.

Fernandez has agreed to file regular blogs from this year’s Tour.

Stage seven: A 139.2-mile trek featuring five climbs on a route from Barcelona to an uphill finish at the Arcalis ski resort in the Pyrenees

Fernandez stage-seven finish: 169th.

Fernandez overall: 139th, 32:11 back.

Two hundred and twenty-three kilometers — today is the first mountain stage of the Tour de France and the first test for the leaders.

More than anything, the journalists have been waiting to see what will happen between the Armstrong/Contador wars.

That is about the only thing in the papers lately.

Who will be the leader of Astana?

Which of the two will win the Tour de France?

Everyone is looking for the polemics.

After a furious stage start a breakaway got away, and everyone in the team relaxed waiting for a team to take responsibility and do work on the front. We all knew that Astana would have to be that team.

As Team Astana did work on the front, the rest of us had our minds on the Cat 1 climb that waited for us at kilometer 117.

The race situation depended heavily on how Astana would climb that mountain — maybe midway into the stage the group would be split into several groups. Luckily for everyone, Astana did not attack the mountain full throttle, and we were given the chance to see the head of the race for a while longer.

I wanted to actually go up and thank them for not torturing us too much. I will have to give them my gratitude tomorrow.

The race continued on at a decent rhythm until the foot of the last mountain when there was a huge crash taking down the majority of the riders. Although I did not crash, I waited for my teammates that had been caught up in it.

On the descent, I realized that there was not much more to do for the day but save my legs, help my teammates and wait for another stage.

I just hope that the front page of tomorrow’s paper has a picture of Agritubel’s Brice Feillu instead of the Armstrong/Contador war.

I am afraid it will be the latter though.

Asi es la vida!

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