At least one of the cyclists in the Tour de France has ties to Lawrence.
Bingen Fernandez, 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 16: A 99-mile ride in the Alps between Martigny, Switzerland, and Bourg-Saint-Maurice, France, featuring two punishing climbs, the Col du Grand Saint-Bernard and the Col du Petit-Saint-Bernard.
Fernandez stage-16 finish: 111th.
Fernandez overall: 104th out of 161 riders, 1 hour, 37 minutes, 57 seconds back.
Rider number: 125.
One stage less before our arrival in Paris, yet we still have the same fright that each day left will be just even more difficult. Luckily today we all fell into luck, as there were a lot less attacks. I think the biggest reason is that everyone has their mind on (today's) stage with its five classified climbs. After coming this far no one wants to be a DNF and head home before Paris. (Today's) stage begins straight off with the climb of Roseland. Frightening. I guess we will all do as much as we can and see how we end up. I am sure that the start (today) will be thick with tension — there will certainly be riders going home early before the day is over.
— Bingen Fernandez