Lars Boom: No regrets
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Saturday, November 07, 2009

Lars Boom: No regrets

by Ben Atkins at 11:55 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Cyclocross
 

Currently in the Caribbean for the end of season Amstel Curaçao Race, former World cyclocross champion Lars Boom says he has no regrets over leaving his old speciality in favour of a career on the road.

"When I heard that [Niels ]Albert had so easily in Treviso,” he told Belgian newspaper Het Nieuwsblad, “it made me think a bit. This was the course where I became world champion in 2008. The urge to ride cross was quite strong, but it quickly passed."

Instead of spending the end of his season in Curacao he could, if he wanted, be commanding high appearance fees at cyclocross races in Europe. This, he says is not an issue, and would not fit in with his long term aims. “I'm happy with what I earn,” he said. “I could start all over again racing cross, but the amount of money was not a concern when I signed the contract. My ambition is to build a record on the road.”

Despite opting out of the cyclocross season so far, he is not turning his back on the discipline altogether, and has one specific target in mind. "When and if [I race] I do not know,” he said. “I told my manager that I’d think about it after Curaçao.

“I’m certainly riding the Dutch Championships; Heerlen is a nice spot for me. The Dutch jersey is something I like. The World Cup is out of the question though. That can’t be done if you are planning a good season on the road. Who is good in Tabor, is not good in April, when the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix are held."

Despite the current domination of his successor in the rainbow jersey, Niels Albert, and the low competitiveness of many of his old rivals, Boom is enjoying the racing as a spectator, rather than as a competitor. "When I look at a cross, I watch a cyclo-cross as a fan,” he confirmed, “but I did not feel I want to race; I loved that I was not racing. I saw the World Cup race in Pilzen and the Koppenbergcross, that was pretty exciting."

"I realize now that cyclocross is a very small world. With no offence to the racers who are racing, there is still much more glory to achieve on the road."

After his first full season on the road as a member of the senior Rabobank ProTour team, Boom highlights some specific results that give him particular satisfaction. “Overall Victory in the Tour of Belgium and a stage victory in the Vuelta,” he said, “my first Grand Tour and it was in the third week; this shows that I have good recovery. In all results were good, but I want more. [Having won] four rainbow jerseys I wear the mark of great talent on my back.

“I want once again to ride and get results in all major competitions: from the Het Nieuwsblad to Paris-Roubaix. The Ronde van Vlaanderen I especially want, I really need to explore the course, the Koppenberg and the Muur are beautiful.”

Once the spring classics are out of the way Boom, like many riders, will look towards the biggest race of the summer, especially as this year it starts in his home country. "Then I’m thinking about the Tour de France,” he said, “which starts in Rotterdam – it is tough, they all say. It does not look too tough, even though I am only 24 years old at the end of December, I assume that I am part of the broad Tour Selection. There is also something there as a stage finish at the gate of Hell in Wallers.”

As one of a new wave of Dutch cyclists, Boom clearly sees what he wants of achieve in his career overall. “Ambition, desires: that is the key,” he said. “I hope that the trio of Robert Gesink, Johnny Hoogerland and Lars Boom, in the era after Boogerd, Eric and Thomas Dekker, can give a new impetus to the Dutch cycling. Hopefully we bring more joy and more victories. That would be nice."

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