Lars Boom triumphed in the fifth stage of the Tour de France today. The Belkin Pro Cycling TEAM rider finished solo after 152 kilometres and seven cobbled sections between Ypres and Arenberg.
“Winning a Tour de France stage is like a dream come true,” said a clearly emotional Boom. “It’s extra special to win in rainy conditions and on cobblestones of Paris-Roubaix. I’ve been dreaming of a wet Paris-Roubaix for years and now this happens at the Tour – Simply fantastic.
“Sep Vanmarcke and I started the stage with the idea to win. It’s very special to be the first Dutch stage winner in Tour de France since Pieter Weening exactly nine years ago. I’m lost for words. I was crying on the bike already and had goose bumps everywhere.”
Boom led the race with Astana rider Vincenzo Nibali and Jakob Fuglsang in the final kilometres. On the last cobbled sector, he made an attack. “I knew I had to do it there as I’m strong on the cobbles and I wanted to be sure that I was going to win. I thought Fabian Cancellara and Peter Sagan would catch up with me in the final, but they didn’t. When I got out of the final corner, I knew I was going to win. That was so nice.”
A flat tyre in the final ruined Vanmarcke’s chances of a stage win, but still the Belgian crossed the line with a fist pump. “It’s just great that Lars managed to win today. Lars and I were both very strong. On the fourth sector, I wanted to attack. I had planned that in advance, but unfortunately I punctured. My race was over after that and of course I was very disappointed, but when I heard that Lars was going to win, I was still able to enjoy the moment.”
Bauke Mollema was able to maintain his spot on the cobblestones, finishing 34th in Arenberg and moving to 18th overall. He trails leader Nibali by 2’27” but only by a minute to most of the other classification riders.
“What an epic stage,” Mollema said. “I was completely empty in the final. Without my team-mates, I wouldn’t have survived today.”
“We were active on two fronts today,” said a very satisfied Sports Director Nico Verhoeven. “Our top specialists Lars and Sep did their thing, while the others protected Bauke. It’s fantastic to win and dominate this important stage. This is perhaps the most beautiful stage of this year’s race and people will talk about today for a long time. This also helps us in our search for a new sponsor.
“Bauke got through the day just fine. He suffered, but barely lost time to most of his competitors.”
Managing Director Richard Plugge thoroughly enjoyed Boom’s victory. “What an incredible win. Totally awesome. The day went exactly according to the plan of the Sports Directors, except for Sep’s puncture.
“For Lars, this is a huge breakthrough. For the team, it’s very important as this puts us in the global centre of attention. People from all over the world will see this. It’s nice that we can bring this into our talks with potential new sponsors.”