Lars Boom will look to defend his national title in the Dutch cyclo-cross championships this coming weekend despite having very little 'cross racing under his belt.
The defending champion, who concentrated on road riding this year, has ridden only one 'cross race this season, the GP Groenendaal on Sunday in Sint Michelsgestel, Netherlands. He finished 22nd, over three minutes down.
“I wanted some 'cross riding,” he told the Belgian site Sporza. “This was my first race of the season, you can't expect me to be good immediately.”
Despite the lack of racing, he still looks to do well next Sunday in Heerlen. “I will not just give away my title. I will try to defend it.” He will hope for a good day and go as far as he can.
However, the 2008 World Champion does not see himself at all as a favourite for the World title race January 30 in Tabor, Czech Republic. “That is definitely a 'cross with snow and ice. And that's not for me.”
Boom called the 'cross season to date “a nice battle between two Belgians and one Czech”, that is, Niels Albert, Sven Nys and Zdenek Stybar. “There was also a Dutchman in the mix last year – himself – “but he has other ambitions.”
The 24-year-old's ambitions focus mainly on the road season with Rabobank's ProTour squad. “I would like to ride the Spring Classics. Those are nice races, but new to me. If I would be selected for the Ronde van Vlaanderen, I would definitely put my best foot forward!"
Boom had two victories in his first ProTour season of 2009, and both were significant ones. In September, he won the 15th stage of the Vuelta a Espana, from Jaén to Cordoba. The rookie, in his first Grand Tour, was in an escape group which formed early. He attacked out of the group on the final climb of the day, with 22 km to go, and soloed on to victory.
His other season win was the overall title in the Tour of Belgium. Boom took over the leader's jersey with a third place on the fourth stage, and cemented his lead with a second place finish in the closing time trial.