Lars Boom says he let go of his yellow jersey in Paris-Nice on Wednesday with regret, knowing that he lost it rather than someone else winning it.
The Rabobank rider finished in the third stage's third group, 27 seconds down, instead of the second group at six seconds. “I am particularly disappointed that I was not in the second group. I should have been there,” he said on his team's website.
“I had expected something more. At forty kilometres I didn't feel so good, but then I came through that and was feeling confident. I rode so well and that gave me a little hope.”
Those hopes were dashed, however, in the final three kilometres of the stage, after the climb of the Côte de la Martinie. "The team guided me well after the last climb and Tommie Leezer brought me down that final climb perfectly. I wanted to try and then I was confident, but when I stood on the pedals, I had nothing left. I tried again and couldn't do it, it was not a good feeling.”
Despite relinquishing the leader's jersey to Jens Voigt (Saxo Bank), Boom reflected on his time in yellow as a good experience. “When I started in the prologue on Sunday, I didn't have the feeling that I had to win, and then I had three days riding in yellow. The team has done a great job and I'm also pretty happy about myself.”
Boom will now ride out “and still enjoy” the remaining four days of Paris-Nice. “Then I will just rest and then probably to start in Milano-Sanremo. The team management has indicated that I would start there. Di Primavera is, I hear, an experience.”
Milano-Sanremo would also be a good preparation for the 24-year-old's big ambition, the Spring Classics. “It is good to ride a course of 260 to 300 kilometres in the run-up to the Flemish Classics," he said. "I need that, not that this Paris-Nice and the last few days haven't been hard.”