“Are you experienced?”
Lars Boom, the 23 year old rider on Rabobank, answered the Jimi Hendrix question with a brilliant solo victory in today’s 167km stage from Jaen to Cordoba. Yes, he is experienced.
The young dutch rider powered away from his breakaway escapados with 22 kilometers to go and went into full time trial mode. His cadence was high and smooth and whenever the road dipped, his chin was on the handlebar. He probably was humming Hendrix’ song Spanish Castle Magic or jamming to Crosstown Traffic. Then again, maybe he prefers the sassy Belgian dance pop of Jesse de Smet.
A U23 time trial champion two years ago, Boom increased his lead of over chaser David Herrero (Xacobeo Galicia) with every time check. Winning a grand tour stage isn’t easy, winning solo even harder, and taking the victory this young, well, let’s just say team Rabobank is popping corks on the cava tonight.
Heading to the finish in Cordoba, the Dutch rider was so far ahead he not only zipped up the jersey, but got it dry-cleaned and pressed. Three shakes of his fist and the winner of the Tour of Belgium had a much bigger win for his wiki bio.
Two days later, the main peloton wandered in with all the favorites. Sorry, it was actually 25 minutes. Hard to call it a rest day on two wheels; hard to call it a race day.
Drug felon Alejandro Valverde still has the golden jersey on his back instead of prison stripes. (What a great idea for riders returning from suspensions.) Samuel Sanchez (Euskaltel-Euskadi) decided to burn some energy he’ll need later by attacking off the front. A senseless move that was brought back by every team with a rider in the top 10. Question for Samuel’s DS: what was the point? You really have to wonder what’s going on in that team car.
Sure sign that teams don’t teach handling the bubbly: yes, Boom got the cork out but his spray technique left something to be desired. This is a photo op for the sponsors! Learn the proper spray skills so you can shoot geysers on the fans. He’s only 23, there’s time, it’s not essential. But buy a case of champagne and practice this winter.