Boom Favored to Win Dutch National Championships Despite Back Injury

Pin It
Lars Boom standing on top of the Zolder descent in his pre-ride, getting the nerve up to ride it ©Danny-zelck

Lars Boom standing on top of the Zolder descent in his pre-ride, getting the nerve up to ride it ©Danny Zelck

by Christine Vardaros

After a late season start in December, 24 year-old Lars Boom (Rabobank) quickly stamped his authority with a victory at the Zolder World Cup in only his fourth race back. But less than a week later, his dreams of snagging his fifth National jersey were almost erased by a fall in the GP Sven Nys in Baal.

While leading the GP Sven Nys last Saturday, Boom crashed hard on a muddy technical descent, smacking hip-first against the immovable fencing. A few minutes later, he abandoned the race with one hand on his back, clearly writhing in pain. While nothing was broken, he sustained extensive bruising on his lower back that required several days of rest. With the Nationals Championship to be held this Saturday in St. Michielsgestel on a traditionally fast course with lots of turns, requiring power to repeatedly accelerate, will Boom have enough time to recover?

While his competitors wish him well, they plan to keep their own designs for winning the jersey intact. There are four challengers in particular who have a real shot of standing on top of the podium. They are Boom’s teammate Gerben de Knegt and AA Drink Teammates Eddy van IJzendoorn, Thijs Al and Thijs van Amerongen.

Gerben de Knegt will be one of the prime challengers © Bart Hazen

Gerben de Knegt will be one of the prime challengers © Bart Hazen

Gerben de Knegt: De Knegt is definitely one of the more dangerous riders for Boom, as he finished second in Nationals last year and won the title in 2002 and 2006. This is proof that he can lift his game for the big events. He has also consistently placed in the top 10 of all classification events (World Cup, Superprestige and GvA Trofee) and had a few visits to the podium. His recent results do not necessarily reflect his fitness level, as he has been riddled with bad luck the last couple of races. But if his fourth place in Zolder World Cup two weeks ago is any indication, he is easily on form to take the win. But will Rabobank teamwork come into play?

Thijs Al in the Zolder snow ©Danny Zelck

Thijs Al in the Zolder snow ©Danny Zelck

Thijs Al: Al enters the race with a bit of vengeance for last year’s Championships, where he just missed top honors. “Last year I almost won, but I crashed in the last corner, and then my chain fell off , and Lars [Boom] overtook me. To win, you have to be in the best shape of the season. I am feeling better every race, but you also have to be a little bit lucky.” As for his infamous holeshots that won him races as grand as the Zolder World Cup two years ago, Al plays down their importance. “It’s different than a normal race because it’s smaller. I think there are five riders who can win. It’s a fast track but also really technical. It’s going to be a tough race, but the start may not be so important.” In the last three years, Al finished the Dutch Nationals with two second places and a third.

Eddy van IJzendoorn looking for the fastest approach through the sand ©Christopher Jobb

Eddy van IJzendoorn looking for the fastest approach through the sand ©Christopher Jobb

Eddy van IJzendoorn: This season van IJzendoorn has really raised his game a notch, scoring some top-10 finishes in major events and showing his face at the front more often in recent races, such as Fidea’s Tervuren last Sunday, where he led for part of the first lap. But what makes him most dangerous is that he has won on the National Championship course two years ago against a stellar international field. Weather conditions, though, can disrupt his hopes for the podium as he flourishes on fast courses on the dry side. Van IJzendoorn explains, “It’s a fast course with a lot of corners, so that’s good for me. I hope that it’s freezing, but I don’t think that will happen [chuckles].” Van IJzendoorn is especially looking for a top result to increase his market value as his AA Drink contract expires March 1st.

Thijs van Amerongen focuses on the task at hand in the Zolder World Cup ©Danny Zelck

Thijs van Amerongen focuses on the task at hand in the Zolder World Cup ©Danny Zelck

Thijs van Amerongen: Van Amerongen is another rider who has shown significant improvement this season and has been consistently strong with a top-10 result in all major classifications. Last year he placed fourth in the National Championships, so he is clearly looking to better his result this time around.

While the top five placings in the Dutch National Championships will most likely be filled by these guys, there’s always a chance for surprise. As pundits often say, a National Championship is a special on-day race where anything can happen.

Photo Gallery:

 

 

Cyclocross Magazine, Issue 22, Print and digital subscriptionsHave you subscribed yet? You're missing out if not. Get all-original content and your cyclocross fix throughout the year with a subscription and Issue 23 back copy, with features on Lars van der Haar, Jonathan Page, Elle Anderson and more!
Tagged as: , , , , , ,
0 comments

Stay up to date:

Search for a product, review, race or racer:

Visit these cx-loving companies:





Support CXM at no extra cost to you:

About Us | Jobs | Subscribe | Contact Us


Copyright © 2007-2014 Cyclocross Magazine - Cyclocross News, Races, Bikes, Photos, Videos All rights reserved.