Lars Boom (Astana) says that he remains focussed on the road, despite rumours that he would quit at the end of the year and go back into cyclo-cross. In an interview earlier this month, recently retired Sven Nys indicated that Boom could be a part of his Telenet-Fidea team next season.
“On the road, for sure, but I’d like to do some more cyclo-cross in the winter like last year where I did maybe five. I would like to do some more,” Boom told Cyclingnews when asked where his ambitions lie at the moment. “My focus is now until Roubaix and Amstel and then after this we will see what happens with the contracts and the teams, we will see.”
Boom, who rode a brief cyclo-cross programme over the winter, won the world title back in 2008. He made the switch to the road soon after, riding with the various incarnations of the Rabobank team before moving to Astana in 2015. His current contract with the Astana team is due to come to an end this season. It is thought that an announcement could come after Paris-Roubaix but this has not been confirmed.
Boom is racing at the Three Days of De Panne, where he spoke to Cyclingnews ahead of the opening stage. It is his second appearance at the race, after making his debut last year following a crash at Dwars door Vlaanderen the week before. He failed to finish Gent-Wevelgem and he hopes De Panne will help make up for that somewhat.
“Last year I also did this race when I crashed in Waregem and didn’t do Gent-Wevelgem. I didn’t have a good feeling in Wevelgem but I had a really good feeling on Friday. I wanted to do the race because I think I need to do the kilometres and I think it’s good for me,” he explained.
“I was motivated [at Gent-Wevelgem], but not 100 per cent like in Harelbeke. At one point in the crosswinds I was in the second group and then I had a puncture, and then it was over because the second group came back but the third group didn’t, it was a pity.”
Several riders have been ill over the past few days but Boom says that did not play a factor in his Gent-Wevelgem abandon. Boom can also take confidence from his showing at E3 Harelbeke, where he finished sixth place his best performance since 2010 and he hopes that it signals good things to come as he looks to better his sixth place at the 2015 Tour of Flanders, this weekend.
“My feeling in E3 was pretty good, I felt good on the Kwaremont was good and also Paterberg so I’m happy with the feeling on the bike and on the cobbles,” Boom told Cyclingnews. “We’ll see. I’ll try to do a really good race and I’ll try to beat the result of last year.”
The opening stage of the Three Days of De Panne brings the riders from De Panne to Zottegem and over the Muur Van Geraardsbergen. The race will finish with a split stage on Thursday with an open road stage in the morning and a time trial in the afternoon.