The answer to the annual riddle "when will Lars ride?" has finally been answered. December 19 at Sint Niklaas, a stand-alone Belgian race, in anticipation of defending his six consecutive Dutch national titles in January. Boom will also attend Tom Boonen's annual semi-competitive charity cross event December 1, for what it's worth.
Boom was noncommittal on further dates, saying "I'll have to check" to de Telegraaf. But he suspected it would be reduced from last season's effort, as he keeps his focus trained on the road. [Also, since Boom means "tree," there are few things as enjoyable as reading gnomed Dutch discussions of "the Tree" moving from "the field" to "the path". Photosynthesis?]
Boom hasn't had much trouble salting away one nats jersey after another, even in his largely-post-cross days, but this year figures to be different, with another Lars -- van der Haar -- primed and riding at a just-behind-Sven level. Can Boom hold off the kid with just a month's preparation? Not sure... but Boom's status as a CX legend doesn't persist long past Treviso 2008 for nothing. He's good at this stuff.