Boom nurses knee in Dauphiné leader's jersey

Lars Boom (Rabobank) is a formidable prologue rider.

Lars Boom (Rabobank) is a formidable prologue rider. (Image credit: Sirotti)

Lars Boom rode an exceptional prologue of the Critérium du Dauphiné as he beat surprise runner up Alexandre Vinokourov by two seconds and third placed Bradley Wiggins by five seconds, which is almost one second per kilometer. But the Rabobank rider recently came out of an injury period and still has doubts about his near future, at the Dauphiné and the Tour de France.

"I want to be honest with the team," the Dutchman repeated a few times after the finish in Saint-Jean-de-Maurienne. This response applied for two subjects: his further ambitions at the Dauphiné and his participation to the Tour de France.

Boom had a solid campaign in the Classics as he finished ninth at Gent-Wevelgem and 12th at Paris-Roubaix, but he didn't encounter the same joy at his come back event. He pulled out of the Tour of California during stage 7 because of an injured right knee.

"My training has been affected and I've worried a bit," Boom said. "It looks like my pain is moving in the right direction but I want to evaluate how it can improve in a near future. I felt ok while training recently and it's no problem to ride a 5.4-km prologue but it remains unknown how I can go at harder and longer races."

A stomach bug made him lose the leader's jersey of the Tour of Qatar after he won another technical prologue in February, so he's not holding onto big plans for the Dauphiné. "I'm curious to see what I can do in the next few days but Vinokourov is very close on GC," he noted. "I wouldn't mind keeping the yellow jersey, but the goal of the team is more about winning other stages, with me or riders like Robert Gesink."

Rabobank has the Tour de France in mind and Boom is prompt to talk about it. "It's not a regret for me that there's no prologue at the Tour this year because there's a team time trial on day 2 and Rabobank is very focused about that," he said.

Boom described himself as "a link in the chain" of the Dutch team, as he's one of the riders supposed to race closely with Gesink, who aims at the podium finish in Paris at the end of July. "It all depends on my knee," he repeated. "I don't want to go to the Tour and being forced to pull out early. We have other riders able to help Robert."

While Boom is for now scheduled to start the Tour de France for the second time, Bauke Mollema will be another important part of the chain, the former world champion for cyclo-cross mentioned.

Before the Tour de France, Boom has high ambitions for the Dutch championships. If his knee permits, he'll intend to get both titles, on the road and for time trial.

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