Lars Boom Video: “Roubaix is my main target for 2012”
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Friday, December 23, 2011

Lars Boom Video: “Roubaix is my main target for 2012”

by Ben Atkins at 10:20 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Spring Classics, Cyclocross, Paris-Roubaix
 
Dutch champion admits he misses cyclocross, but six races this winter will help him prepare for next year’s Classics

lars boomLars Boom (Rabobank) has begun his short winter cyclocross season, but the Dutch champion admits that he doesn’t expect any spectacular performances against those who have been racing since the autumn. For the rider, who will celebrate his 26th birthday next Friday, his six-race programme is designed to add a little fun to his winter training, as well as providing him with some intense riding ahead of next season.

In a video interview with his Rabobank team Boom, whose wins on the road in 2011 included the prologues of the Tour of Qatar and the Critérium du Dauphiné, and overall victory in the Tour of Britain, talked about how things were going.

“I chose to do it last year also, because I like to do cyclocross,” he explained. “A couple of years back, of course, I did the whole seasons and I now I only do six races. It’s a good preparation for me for the road season; one hour full is good.”

Boom’s programme for the 2011/12 season began last weekend with the World Cup race in Namur, Belgium, where he was a little off the pace in 28th pace; things improved a little in the midweek Centrumcross in Surhuisterveen though, Netherlands, where he finished third to teammate Gerben de Knegt.

His next race will be the World Cup in Heusden-Zolder on Boxing Day – which he won in the snow last year – followed two days later by the Azencross in Loenhout, the Fidea Cyclocross in Leuven two days after that; he will then finish on January 8th at the Dutch national championships.

His reason for choosing these six races is simple.

“Because I like these six races I think,” he said. “I chose them and that’s why I ride them.”

Cyclocross was Boom’s first love in cycling, where he has held a Dutch champion’s jersey at some level since 2001. He has also been World champion in all the age groups; winning as a junior in 2003, and under-23 in 2007, and as an elite professional in 2008. Unsurprisingly, Boom is happy to be back in the ‘velt’, even if it’s just for a few weeks.

“I like to be back, I think, for a couple of races,” he said, “and, for sure, when there’s a lot of mud and… I like the mud, so… It’s nice to be back now, but only for these six races.

“I miss it a little bit sometimes,” he admitted, “but the road is also good for me and I like the road a lot.”

For Boom, the one competitive target this season is to retain his red, white and blue driekleur jersey for another year, in Huijbergen on January 8th.

“For sure, I’ve been five times national champion in a row – with the pros – and I want to do six times also; that’s a goal for me,” he said.

With such a short ‘cross programme though, Boom will have much less racing in his legs than his big rivals like de Knegt. The 25-year-old feels confident that he will be able to hold onto his title though.

“I think so,” he said. “In the upcoming four races I’ll do my best, and then the nationals are there and I think it will be okay.”

As well as having fun – and keeping his national title – a ‘cross racing programme is also useful as training; particularly for the cobbled classics like Paris-Roubaix and the Ronde van Vlaanderen, where bike handling and the ability to ride over rough roads is at a premium.

“It’s already like this, of course,” said Boom. “I think Roubaix will be the biggest goal this year. The Tour of Flanders also, but Roubaix suits me a little bit better I think. That’s my main goal this year and I will do everything for it.”

Boom started this year’s Queen of the Classics in some of the best form of his life, having ridden a similar, brief ‘cross programme last winter. Like World champion Thor Hushovd though, he found his personal ambition stymied by team loyalty, with Maarten Tjallingii up ahead with the leaders. He finished in a highly respectable, but disappointed, 12th place, in the main chase group, alongside Hushovd; ironically on his cyclocross bike, despite starting on a road machine.

This year's race was another dry dusty one but, since he likes the mud in cyclocross, it’s no surprise that Boom would like to see some in the Classics.

“Rain would be good, I think,” he smiled. “When it’s raining at Roubaix it will be perfect.”

Video courtesy of Rabosport.com

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