Boom going strong in Paris-Nice
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Tuesday, March 09, 2010

Boom going strong in Paris-Nice

by Bjorn Haake at 3:42 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Paris-Nice
 

Lars Boom continues to lead four classifications in Paris-Nice. After his stunning time trial performance in the opening prologue, the Dutchman was able to make the crucial split yesterday, initiated by the Caisse d'Epargne team.

The effort to stay up front was well worth the pain. "I really had to grit my teeth," Boom said on his team's website, www.rabosport.nl. "It was really simple, all or nothing." Boom saw the gap opening and had to dig deep to close it. "I just had to, otherwise I would have lost yellow, and I still wanted to keep it at least one more day."

Boom confirmed that the wind was the main culprit throughout the stage. "We had to stay alert all day, after every corner [the attacks] could have started." Boom rode in the front all day, to be able to react. "I was perfectly led by the guys. The team's work was formidable."

But Rabobank wasn't just passively sitting in. "At the 120km mark, we tried ourselves to put the peloton in the gutter." They succeeded for a bit, "but later it all came back together," Boom said.

He was so motivated that he sprinted at the two intermediate sprints, gaining a third place and one bonus second each time. "I wanted to sprint at the finish for the time bonuses [for the first three - ed.] but I was too beat. It saps your energy." Boom ended the day in 12th place, but extended his lead over Jens Voigt from three to five seconds in the overall.

He also continues to lead the mountains classification, thanks to his impressive first 1.5 kilometers in the prologue up the category-three Côte de la Boursouffle. His overall lead gives the 25-year-old also the young rider's lead. In the points classification, Jens Voigt's seventh place put him on equal points with Boom (36), but the Dutchman's better time trial performance keeps Boom in the lead.

Boom is happy that Nico Verhoeven joined the ProTour section of the team. The two had already worked together at the Rabobank Continental team. "Nico Verhoeven plays a big role in my success. I am really, really happy that he came to our team. Nothing against the other directors, but Nico knows me very well, and I know him. He can really squeeze the last out of me and get me over difficult points when I am already dead."

Boom also appreciates the sportsman like behavior that Verhoeven showed, for example, after Contador's crash. "I fully stand behind this. It is terrible if someone crashes just 100m from the three-kilometer banner. That is not how I want to gain time on Contador. It was good that he was able to profit from the team car."

Contador was unable to return to the front group, but made it home in the second group, with Levi Leipheimer. Contador lost 17 seconds, but was more worried about his injuries.

Paris-Nice continues until Sunday. Today's 201km trek from Contres to Limoges features steady uphills in the second part of the stage. Boom will have to stay alert once again, if he wants to keep the jersey.

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