Last year Rabobank had Juan Antonio Flecha but with his departure to Sky the team doesn't have a true, single leader. However in Joost Posthuma and Lars Boom, Rabobank has two dangerous cards to play in Paris-Roubaix. Time trial specialist Posthuma usually has a go in the long breakaway but former cyclo-cross world champion Lars Boom could go well after making a strong impression during last week's Tour of Flanders.
Boom makes his debut in the pavé classic after riding a strong first part of the season. The 24 year-old Dutchman won the prologue of Paris-Nice and wore the leader's jersey for three days.
"During the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad I was going well too. I'm satisfied with my performances so far. I made progression compared to last year," Boom told Cyclingnews.
While many riders in his position would be unsure whether or not they can go well on the cobbles, Boom is confident. "It went well in the Tour of Flanders," Boom said. In Flanders there's a mixture of cobbles and climbs while Paris-Roubaix only has the cobbles. For Boom the difference didn't matter. "I could easily follow on the hellingen, but they take a lot of energy. At the end of the race I was thrown backwards," Boom said, adding that the distance makes these Monuments extra difficult.
While one would think his cyclo-cross skills will help him a lot during Paris-Roubaix, Boom played down their importance. "Those technical skills might come in handy when you end up riding in the gutter but that's about it," Boom said.
Team-mate Joost Posthuma is more experienced in Paris-Roubaix. He told Cyclingnews how he felt about the race. "It's an honest race. Everybody's encountering some bad luck," Posthuma said.
"For me, I'm feeling good during the training rides but that's not the same as the actual race. When hitting the first sectors you quickly know how you're going."
Posthuma's experience taught him that the weather forecast wasn't very promising. "It's good that it's dry but the headwind makes it difficult for attackers. It doesn't make sense to attack with a small group; it's useless. A breakaway group of at least ten riders would be good though," Posthuma said.
The Dutchman featured in the long breakaway last year as well as in 2006 and he knows the race suits him well. "Deep into the finale I always ran out of gas though. I tend to make the mistake of being over-enthusiastic. When riding through the Arenberg forest you go extra hard while it's probably better to go easy. Once the big guns bridge up you can use that energy to keep up with them. Every year I'm getting stronger but also smarter. Guys like Boom still have to go through that learning process," a smiling Posthuma said, before adding that everybody can check out his new website at joostposthuma.nl.
Boom explained that he knew how to ride smart. "During the national championships, which I won, I continuously told myself to save energy. It would be nice to get into a huge breakaway group of thirty riders. Once there I would be reining myself in too. On the other hand it's not always good to ride smart," Boom pointed out that riding too conservatively isn't his cup of tea. "Anyway, I want to get as far as possible and be there when the race is really going on," Boom added.