Cyclo-cross talent Lars Boom is stepping away from his off-road roots and toward a heavily packed road racing schedule with his ProTour Rabobank squad this year. The former World Cyclo-cross Champion is riding the Amgen Tour of California, where his third place podium performance in the stage two road race move him into a respectable fourth place in the event’s overall classification.
“This is an important race for me and for the team,” Boom told Cyclingnews. “This is my first race after the Spring Classics. I’m doing well, the first stage was OK. I tried to sprint but was almost in a crash, it’s going OK. I cannot say really how well things will go for us after only the first stage.”
Boom predicted the event’s second stage would end with a small front group of the peloton’s strongest riders on the finishing streets of Santa Rosa, following the multiple mountain passes located at the end of the stage. He was right. A lead group of 27 riders containing all of the predictable general classification contenders made it to the line together. Boom was there.
“It was a nice stage but it wasn’t such a big group to the finish,” Boom said. “I wanted to try to be in that group. I want to do a good showing in this stage race and maybe a get a stage win. That will be good but it is going to be a hard field with a lot of climbing this week.”
Boom is no stranger to road racing having won the Under 23 world time trial title in 2007 and has competed with the Rabobank youth program and Continental team for the previous eight years. “I only did two cross races this year because I consider myself a road rider now,” Boom said. “Maybe I will do a little bit more cross races this year but not too much, we will see."
“I like the road, my season with road is going well,” he added. “I was able to get some good results on the Continental team before. I want to do more and more on the road like the Spring Classics and the big races. This team is giving me the opportunity to do that.”
In his first season with the ProTour Rabobank team, Boom proved his place amongst the world’s best when he won the opening prologue at Paris-Nice in March. He went on to compete in a full Spring Classics schedule, a learning experience before taking on bigger stage races like the Tour de France in July.
“The Spring Classics were OK and Paris-Nice was good,” Boom said. “I’m happy with my spring racing and got some good results. I was one of the three captains on the team in the Spring Classics. I learned a lot by racing the spring classics this year."
“I will race in the Tour de France this year and will try to be good there and at the races before the Tour,” he added. “It will be my first time and I’m very excited about that. It starts in Holland so it is very important for me, for the Dutch people and the Dutch guys on the team.”
The Amgen Tour of California is Boom’s first time competing in the United States of America. He travelled to the USA to watch the Tour of Missouri in 2008, where he was spotted handing out water bottles in the feed zone to help his team-mates.