First-year pro and former cyclo-cross World Champion Lars Boom (Rabobank) took an impressive solo win at the end of stage 15 of the Vuelta a Espana after breaking away from a 13-man move close to the finish. Overall, no change.
The Rabobank pro took off from a day-long break on the second of two ascents of the Alto de San Jeronimo climb, the same ascent where David Millar broke away to win a stage of the Vuelta back in 2003.
Boom followed three other riders up the road just before the treelined ascent started, then took off alone almost on the interminable succession of steady rises and false flats.
Spain’s David Herrero (Xacobeo-Galicia) chased the hardest behind, but he was no match for Boom – riding his first ever major Tour – on the constantly undulating climb just outside the finish city of Cordoba.
Boom soloed across the line over 90 seconds ahead of Herrero, whilst the bunch eased across the line some 20 minutes later, glad to take a day ‘off’ after three hard days in the mountains.
For Rabobank Boom’s victory is their first in the Vuelta this year. It also means they join the tiny group of teams (the others being Cervelo and Columbia-HTC) with victories in all three major Tours this season.
A winner of the Tour of Belgium this year and former national champion and U-23 World Time Trial Champion, Boom’s name will be more familiar to cyclo-cross fans.
Boom broke through the Belgian hegemony in the World Championships back in 2008 by winning the title before disappointing badly in 2009 in the same event and finishing twentieth.
Boom then opted to turn to road-racing, and the change is all but permanent. He told reporters after winning the stage to Cordoba that he will only do one or two cyclo-cross races this winter.
“I’m looking at doing a good ride in the Classics next year,” he said, “that’s why I’m here, not for ‘cross.” And if Boom does anything like as well as he did on stage 15 of the Vuelta, he seems certain of success in the near future.
Vuelta a Espana 2009: Stage 15, Jaen-Cordoba, 167.7km
1. Lars Boom (Ned) Rabobank in 4-12-56
2. David Herrero (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia at 1-36
3. Dominik Roels (Ger) Milram at 1-44
4. Leonardo Duque (Col) Cofidis at 2-04
5. Maxim Iglinsky (Kaz) Astana
6. Alexandre Kolobnev (Rus) Saxo Bank
7. Martin Velits (Svk) Milram
8. Serafin Martinez (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia
9. Alexander Efimkin (Rus) Ag2r at same time
10. Mathieu Ladagnous (Fra) Francaise des Jeux at 3-23
Overall classification after stage 15
1. Alejandro Valverde (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne in 65-08-50
2. Robert Gesink (Ned) Rabobank at 31sec
3. Samuel Sanchez (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi at 1-10
4. Ivan Basso (Ita) Liquigas at 1-28
5. Cadel Evans (Aus) Silence-Lotto at 1-51
6. Ezequiel Mosquera (Spa) Xacobeo Galicia at 1-54
7. Joaquim Rodriguez (Spa) Caisse d’Epargne at 5-53
8. Paolo Tiralongo (Ita) Lampre at 6-24
9. Tom Danielson (USA) Garmin-Slipstream at 8-28
10. Juan Jose Cobo (Spa) Fuji-Servetto at 10-45
Vuelta a Espana 2009: Latest news and features
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Vuelta a Espana 2009: Who will win?
Vinokourov back with Astana for the Vuelta
Britain and Ireland well represented in Vuelta
2009 Vuelta route favours climbers
Cycling Weekly’s Rider Profiles: Index
Vuelta a Espana 2009: Stage reports
Stage 14: Valverde suffers but strengthens lead
Stage 13: Unlucky Evans loses time on rivals
Stage 12: Hesjedal wins second stage for Garmin
Stage 11: Farrar takes first grand tour victory
Stage 10: Gerrans takes breakaway victory
Stage nine: Cesar wins as Valverde leads in la Vuelta
Stage eight: Cunego takes first mountain stage of 2009 Vuelta
Stage seven: Cancellara outpaces Millar in TT
Stage six: Bozic surprises sprint rivals to take win
Stage five: Greipel wins again and takes race lead
Stage four: Greipel wins after big crash wipes out bunch
Stage three: Henderson wins stage
Stage two: Ciolek takes first road stage, Hammond third
Stage one: Cancellara wins Vuelta opener
Vuelta a Espana 2009: Photos
Stage 15 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 14 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 13 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 12 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 11 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage 10 photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage nine photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage eight photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage six photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage five photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage four photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage three photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage two photo gallery by Graham Watson
Stage one photo gallery by Graham Watson