Lars Boom continued to show his immense talent to the cycling world in Paris-Nice today, when he jumped across solo to the front split created by the Caisse d'Épargne riders with 15km to go into stage 1.
The day after winning the prologue in Monfort-L'Amaury, the 2008 time trial world champion looked at ease in defence of his yellow jersey as he powered across the gap in the strong crosswinds on the way to Contres. "It might have looked easy but it did really hurt," Boom told Cyclingnews after receiving all the jerseys – yellow, green, polka dot and white – at the podium ceremony.
"I was only in 40th position in the peloton when Valverde attacked," he added. "It was a very good attack from him. I waited for one moment to go to the left side of the road because of the crosswinds. I took some riders with me. I pushed myself into the wire. But it was important to keep the jersey today.
"To wear the yellow jersey in a ProTour race makes the effort special. It gives a little bit more of a morale when it's hard. I jumped to the front because of having the yellow jersey but maybe also because I'm OK."
When Boom is "OK," it means he's absolutely amazing on a bike. But he maintains that his goal for Paris-Nice hasn't increased since he won the prologue and said he came to the French race to prepare for the classics. However, while Romain Feillu and Albert Timmer were up the road, Boom sprinted for the third place that awards one second bonus in the intermediate sprints. "It's pretty good to have gained two seconds on Jens [runner up Voigt]," he commented. "I still want to keep the jersey until Mende. If I didn't jump today, I would have lost the jersey to Jens."
Rabobank's directeur sportif Nico Verhoeven maintained Boom is not capable of winning the overall in Paris-Nice this year. "On a good day uphill in Mende, Lars would finish about 30th," the Dutchman said. "It's too difficult for him to win Paris-Nice. Today's result with 17 seconds gained on Contador doesn't change anything."
Boom, the former cyclo-cross world champion, gave up his ambitions for the winter in order to focus his efforts on the road season, and his next target is the Flemish classics in April.