Lars Boom will miss the Tour Down Under as he must undergo surgery for cardiac arrhythmia in early January, but the Dutchman is hopeful that his Classics campaign will not be unduly compromised by his delayed start to the 2018 season.
Boom revealed his heart condition during the LottoNL-Jumbo team presentation in Veghel on Friday morning, but evinced confidence that he can recover quickly.
“The team doctor and cardiologist assured me that it is not dangerous and that it can easily be remedied,” Boom said. “I am well on my way. I have to put in many training hours during the first two weeks of January, and after that, I will take a break.”
Bahrain-Merida rider Ramūnas Navardauskas was recently cleared to return to competitive action in 2018 after undergoing surgery for cardiac arrhythmia in September. Boom’s LottoNL-Jumbo teammate Robert Gesink was successfully treated for the condition during the 2014 season.
According to De Telegraaf, Boom first became aware of an issue during a holiday in Curacao and sought medical advice following a recent training camp. “I let myself be examined, which took away my anxiety, but it’s still annoying,” Boom said. “I now have medication and I can just train on until early January, then I will be off the bike for a week and a half.”
Boom had planned to begin the 2018 season at the Tour Down Under, but his season debut will instead be postponed until February. As ever, the cobbled Classics will be the centrepiece of the Dutchman’s spring, and although he was bullish about his prospects of reaching April in top form, he conceded that he might be short of condition come Omloop Het Nieuwsblad and Belgian cycling’s Opening Weekend in late February.
“It's a shame, but the spring is going to look a bit different,” Boom said, according to De Telegraaf. “We’ll just have to wait and see how quickly I recover from the surgery. I'm in good hands, but the Omloop Het Nieuwsblad may come too soon.”
Boom returned to the LottoNL-Jumbo set-up (formerly Rabobank) in 2017 after a two-year stint at Astana, but endured a disappointing Classics campaign and was not selected for the Tour de France or Vuelta a España.
Boom registered his disappointment with a spirited victory salute on claiming stage victory at the BinckBank Tour in August, and he continued his solid end to the season by winning the Tour of Britain.
With the 2018 Tour de France to feature a demanding stage over the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix on stage 9, Boom is set to return to La Grande Boucle in July. The Dutchman was the stage winner when the Tour visited the pavé in miserably wet conditions in 2014.