By Kirsten Robbins in Rolla, Missouri
It is not often you see a reigning world champion hanging out in the feed zone, handing out musette bags on country roads in the middle of America. However, that is where you can find Lars Boom, the current cyclo-cross world champion. The talented Dutch-man is spending his rest days at the Tour of Missouri and offering team support before he kicks off the rugged 'cross season in a brand new rainbow banded skin suit.
"I finished my road season with the national time trial championships last week and now I'm preparing for the cyclo-cross season," the 23-year-old multi-time world champion told Cyclingnews. "I'm here riding a little bit and also resting a little bit before my first 'cross race next month. I wanted to come here to help the team and I really like hanging out in the feed zones, it's my first time in the US too."
"Maybe after today I'll go in the team car as a second team director," he continued his list of team support duties. "I am having fun here. I get to see what the mechanics are doing and what the soigneurs are doing. It's nice to have a chance to see all these parts of racing."
Boom, born in Vlijmen in the Netherlands, currently competes in the disciplines of cyclo-cross and road for the Rabobank continental squad, a contract that will end in in February of 2010. In his first season as a an elite, this January, he won the cyclo-cross world title in Treviso, Italy.
Before that, his extensive palmarès included the 2007 under-23 world time trial title in Stuttgart which was followed by a second under-23 world title in cyclo-cross in Hooglede, as well as multiple Dutch national championships.
"I'm healthy, doing good with no problems this season," he said. "I'm really looking forward to starting my season, especially in the white jersey. That's going to be cool."
He confirmed the start of his cyclo-cross season at the first Superprestige event held on October 12 in Ruddervoorde, Belgium. "I could've raced here at the Cross Vegas but I decided not too," admitted Boom who felt the end of September event cut into his recovery time from the lengthy road season. "I had a long year so far, and I know this is going to be a busy winter for me so I'm happy to take a little bit of rest and not touch the bike for a few days."
American cyclo-cross continues to attract the top cyclo-cross talents in the world. However, Boom confirmed with Cyclingnews that he will only be competing in the Superprestige series, the World Cup series and the World Championships this season.
"I don't think I'll be racing in the USA this year," he said. "I've thought about it a lot. I've seen the American 'cross racing on TV, I bought all the DVD's with all the American races from the winter of 2006 and 2007 and it looks so good."