Belgians may love to heckle the Dutch, but they love cyclocross even more, even going to the extent of petitioning young Dutch ‘cross star Lars Boom to ask him to continue racing the winter sport. I think they know that the sport needs strong competition from nations other than Belgium, and the Netherlands is as good as any other. Plus, they speak the same language (although not according to the Flemish).

Lars Boom

From – the world centre of cycling:

Fans petition to keep Boom in ‘cross

Over 1,000 fans have signed an online petition by the Gazet van Antwerpen newspaper to keep former World Champion Lars Boom racing cyclocross. Boom has been promoted from the Rabobank team’s Continental squad up to the ProTour ranks, and said recently he would focus on road racing, only choosing to do a handful of ‘cross races next season “for fun”.

The decision drew hundreds of signatures from the very Belgian fans who heckled Boom while cheering their countryman Niels Albert to victory in this year’s cyclo-cross world championships.

Aside from being elite World Champion last year, Boom has been U23 and junior champion in the past, and has won a category of his national championships every year since 2001.

While Boom’s cyclocross results have been impressive, his road palmares have been equally so. He was U23 world time trial champion in 2007, and as a Continental rider, he scored overall victories in the Olympias Tour, Volta Ciclista Internacional a Lleida, Tour de Bretagne. He was also the Dutch elite road race and time trial champion in 2008.

Boom was quoted as saying, “First I was seen as the arch-enemy and now they want me to stay. It’s a nice initiative, but it doesn’t change anything. It’s too late now anyway. They could have conducted themselves better. Sure we’ll see what comes out of this thing, but I’ve already made my choice.”