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Boom's Elbow Broken; Cobble Dreams Still Intact

Lars Boom ain't done yet, not officially anyway

Eric Feferberg AFP/Getty

Yesterday's crash at Paris-Nice cost Belkin classics captain Lars Boom the integrity of his right elbow, which suffered a fracture on the radius 10km from the finish of the second stage of the Race to the Sun. Wounds were salved briefly by Moreno Hofland's stage victory a few minutes later, but Boom headed back to the Netherlands where the injury was diagnosed.

But all is not lost. At de Telegraaf, Boom predicts he'll be back on the bike in two weeks (pending any further tests and damage), and remains on target for the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix. This article gnome-translates brutally, but ultimately indicates that Boom plans on fighting through the pain, that his legs are good and he assumes that'll keep him in contention.

For comparison's sake, last year Sep Vanmarcke, Boom's illustrious teammate, fell at Tirreno-Adriatico about one week closer to the classics, and ruptured the bursa on his knee. He missed a week on the bike, came back slowly at E3 and Gent-Wevelgem weekend, ran a forgettable Flanders, and nearly won Paris-Roubaix. Boom could be on a similar trajectory, insofar as his being at Flanders will likely give him the fine tuning he'll need in France, where he's more of a threat than Flanders even under ideal circumstances. But in the process Boom may learn a thing or two about his toughness: bouncing over the cobbles with a bad elbow is far more miserable than laboring through knee pain.

Boom's best classics results are fifth at E3 in 2010 and sixth in Paris-Roubaix two years ago. His limited climbing doesn't fit with the redesigns of de Ronde, but he can pound out a pace over the cobbles with the best of them, or very nearly so. It seems like every season we lose one or more of the top cobbles stars before the big events begin, and perhaps this is that scenario recurring, but so far in Boom's view hope is not lost.