Rabobank gets strong start to Eneco Tour; Boom and Van Emden in top ten of prologue
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Monday, August 8, 2011

Rabobank gets strong start to Eneco Tour; Boom and Van Emden in top ten of prologue

by Kyle Moore at 4:00 PM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling, Eneco Tour

Lars BoomRacing in front of a home crowd in Amersfoort, Holland, the Dutch team Rabobank got their Eneco Tour off to a strong start in today’s prologue. Time trial specialist Lars Boom finished fifth, teammate Jos Van Emden was one spot behind in sixth, and Bram Tankink was 18th. Rick Flens looked to be headed to a top ten time when he wiped out in the final corner of the twisty circuit, which Taylor Phinney (Team BMC) mastered to pick up his first professional win. Flens still managed 30th place.

There were high expectations for Boom, and the Eneco organizers made him the penultimate man to roll out of the start house.

“We would have loved to win today, and we have riders who can,” remarked team boss Nico Verhoeven after the stage. “If you tried everything, you have to be happy with what you got.”

Taking off second from the end, Boom knew Phinney’s time that he was trying to best, but the former cyclo-cross specialist came up ten seconds short. “Lars tried to go for Phinney’s time,” Verhoeven explained. “Until three kilometers to go, he was right on pace, but soon after, we knew it would not happen. But he was still fifth.”

Earlier in the day, Jesse Sergent (Radioshack) sat with the best time for an extended period of time, but Van Emden finally knocked him off, crossing the line one second faster than Sergent. But Rabobank management hardly had time to pass Van Emden the good news before Alex Rasmussen (HTC-Highroad) blazed through, a further two seconds faster than Van Emden.

Verhoeven liked what he saw from the 26-year-old. “Jos rode well,” he said. “His time was good, but then it was immediately broken. That’s too bad for the guy. The field here is very strong.”

Prior to Sergent’s effort, Robert Wagner (Leopard-Trek) had set the early fastest time. Like Sergent’s time would later, it too had stood for a while. Finish cameras picked up Flens, the fifth year Rabobank veteran, negotiating the harrowing S-curves that featured in the final 100 meters. Flens was heading toward the new best time when he washed out on the final sharp left-hander, just 50 meters from the finish. His time was still good enough for third best, and 30th overall when the prologue was complete.

“Of course that was very unfortunate for Rick, because his good form was not rewarded with a good time,” Verhoeven added. “The road surface was just drying as he rode through, and there was little he could do.”

“They had also predicted rain for the entire afternoon, so we should be happy with the conditions at the end of the day.”

Verhoeven later added that his riders plan to use their Classics experience and strong start to try and wear down the newcomer Phinney. In view of Rabobank’s good start to the Eneco Tour, he was honest in his assessment of the day.

“We obviously hoped for a better start. The riders went all in today and we are very close to Phinney. Everything is still possible. We would have liked the win, but we certainly aren’t going home. I have a lot of confidence in our squad at the Eneco Tour,” he acknowledged.


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