Lars Boom’s return causes a stir among the Belgian cyclocross toppers
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Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Lars Boom’s return causes a stir among the Belgian cyclocross toppers

by Ben Atkins at 10:44 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross
 
Dutch champion accuses Sven Nys’ rivals of not training enough; Niels Albert strikes back

lars boomLars Boom (Rabobank) is one of the few riders in the World that can worry the big name Belgian cyclocross ‘toppers,’ and has once again done so before he even got on his bike, Sporza reports. The Netherlands champion is riding just three ‘cross races this season, but his words in the Belgian media yesterday - when he suggested that the rest of the Belgians need to train harder to compete with Sven Nys (Landbouwkrediet-Euphony) - have angered World champion Niels Albert (BKCP-Powerplus).

“I’ve been following the cyclocross and Nys really is the ruler,” Boom told Sporza. “I find it really impressive that he can still do it. If I was in the others’ place then I would train harder, but that’s not my problem.”

Albert, who has been one of the closest riders to Nys in recent weeks - and defeated the Belgian champion in Leuven on Sunday - has taken exception to the Dutchman’s comments. The World champion was to race against Boom in this afternoon’s race in Sint-Niklaas, Belgium, but it’s not looking likely that they will meet on friendly terms.

“If I were to bump into him at Sint-Niklaas I will stop to shake his hand,” Albert told Het Laatste Nieuws. “But will I ask him for coffee? No.

“That has nothing to do with previous duels, but with his words,” he explained. “That he thinks that Nys’ opponents need to train harder, for example, shows little respect.”

Boom’s latest comments are yet another chapter in the rivalry between himself and the Belgians that date back to his own World title of 2008. His comments in the build up to the 2009 championships in Hoogerheide, Netherlands, riled the Belgians so much that it provoked an almost unheard of co-operation between them to prevent Boom from winning on home soil.

The winner that day was Albert, as he soloed to the first of his World titles; the 26-year-old is hoping for more defeats for Boom this season, as his third and final race will be the defence of his Netherlands title.

“Nothing would be better for cyclocross than for full time ‘crosser Lars van der Haar to be Dutch champion,” said Albert. “I really hope he can beat Boom.”

Nys himself remains philosophical about the comments, having experienced many similar situations in the past.

“He’s a controversial guy,” he said to Sporza. “Lars hasn’t ridden yet but already he’s causing polemics.

“But that’s good I think,” he added. “Cyclocross needs a bit of spice. It’s up to the others to not let it get to them, to put Lars’ words into perspective and to answer with their pedals.”

Nys won the race in Sint-Niklaas, in a close contest with Albert and Tom Meeusen (Telenet-Fidea); Boom finished 13th.

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