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Lars Boom wishes he’d been allowed to mix disciplines like Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert

Lars Boom says he is a ‘little bit jealous’ of van der Poel and van Aert and wishes he could have kept racing cyclocross longer into his career.

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Lars Boom is a little bit jealous of Mathieu van der Poel and Wout van Aert.

The retired pro, who is now a coach and team manager at the women’s SD Worx squad, wishes he’d had a better opportunity to mix his cyclocross and road racing as much as the two multi-discipline stars.

Boom was a rider with a strong ‘cross pedigree and won an elite world title in 2008, but he ultimately had to cut back on discipline when he stepped up to the Rabobank men’s team in 2009. He would return to the mud a few times during his career, but it was limited.

Also read: Lars Boom gets back to ‘cross this winter

Riders dabbling in several disciplines throughout the season is becoming the norm within cycling and Boom regrets not having the chance. He believes the approach can benefit riders in their racing as well as extending their careers.

“When I was riding with Rabobank all those years, there was a development team, and we were developed to be a road racer. Of course, we were allowed to ride cyclocross, but in the end, they ask us to make a decision,” Boom said during a call with the media. “Of course, they supported the cyclocross, but it was always so-so.”

In addition to his new role as team manager at SD Worx, Boom is also coaching rising star Kata Blanka Vas — a multi-discipline talent who took fourth in the mountain bike event at the Olympics and the same at the road race at the world championships, in Flanders.

“Now that I see Wout and Mathieu, and also Blanka [Vas], I think it benefits, you as a rider that you can still do the two or three disciplines that you like,” Boom added. “It also gives you a longer lifespan of your career, I think, because you can enjoy the more disciplines in cycling and that way you can enjoy life in a better way as well.

Also read: Meet Kata Blanka Vas, the next big thing in multi-discipline racing

“From my personal view, I think it’s fine with me if [Vas] does two or three disciplines and I’m a little bit jealous now that I never could do it longer in my career because I think I was a good road rider because I did a lot of cyclocross.”

Boom retired from racing at the end of 2019 after more than a decade as a professional. He curated a rich palmarès on the road with stages of the Tour de France and Vuelta a España among his victories.

He did not spend long away from cycling and joined the women’s Liv Racing team as their performance manager in 2020 before SD Worx snapped him up midway through this year. Boom pondered about whether or not he had stopped racing too early but added that he wanted to do so when he did.

“Mentally, I was ready to stop,” Boom said. “In the end, I’m really happy that I joined SD Worx and that I’m working in cycling still. If you have a lot of experience and if you can help someone to get better, like Blanka, that’s always very nice.

“I still ride my bike a few times a week but I’m also really happy that sometimes it’s not necessary anymore. For example, now when it rains, I’m happy with that. I think I had a good career and maybe I stopped a few years too early but I’m now enjoying family time as well. It’s fine like this.”