On the eve of Paris-Roubaix, Lars Boom (Astana) managed to stay out of the spotlight even though the 29-year-old Dutchman always performs well in the Spring Classics and is considered a contender for Sunday.
The former cyclo-cross world champion finished sixth at the Tour of Flanders last week. Half a year ago, he won the epic Tour de France stage that finished at the Arenberg forest. In Paris-Roubaix, however, he has never gotten closer than a sixth place in 2012. Maybe Boom needs rain in order to prevail.
While Boom picked up his goodie bag with regional products at the team presentation on Saturday, there were some raindrops coming down on the majestuous Place Charles de Gaulle square.
"With my cyclo-cross background it tends to get easier for me when it’s wet. Then again, it remains a similar race, whether it’s wet or dry. I showed in the past that I can do well when it’s dry too," Boom said at the presentation in Compiègne on a grim afternoon.
"If it annoys me that I’m not considered a top favourite? It doesn’t bother me at all," Boom said. The Dutchman was his usual confident self, smiling and pointing out how little the circumstances would get to him.
"I’m ready. Flanders was good, it boosted my morale. On Wednesday, I did the Scheldeprijs and on Thursday I did the last 100 kilometres of Sunday’s course. The last two days I did some easy rides," he said.
During the reconnaissance he recognised parts of the course that led to his splendid victory in the Tour de France. "At some points I thought back about the Tour de France stage. Here we turned this way, there that guy was pulling hard. It brought back some memories. It’s the first time that I was back in Arenberg. It was a special feeling."
It was a special stage win, too. Boom won ahead of eventual race winner Vincenzo Nibali, in a tough stage in which Christopher Froome abandoned and several other great GC-contenders lost valuable time. It changed some things for Boom.
"It meant that I had more confidence in the Spring Classics, more than other years. It provided me with more confidence. More than other years, I was looking forward to the Spring Classics. The Tour de France victory was a confirmation that I can do well. I hope I was able to show that a little in the Tour of Flanders and I hope to show that again tomorrow."
The Dutch interviewer from NOS informed Boom that Sebastian Langeveld aimed for the podium and that Niki Terpstra wanted to win. "I want to win too," Boom stated. "It would be good to be on the podium with the three of us."
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