Emerging sprinter Kris Boeckmans looking for elusive first win

Belgian hoping for breakthrough in first season with Vacansoleil DCM

Kris BoeckmansHis team has gotten off to a hot start in the 2012 season, and while Kris Boeckmans (Vacansoleil-DCM) has yet to take his first win in the colours of his new squad, he has been knocking on the door since early February.

He’ll start today’s Gent Wevelgem after clocking up four second place finishes in 2012 alone, beginning with stage two of the Etoile de Bessèges and most recently in Nokere Koerse. He was riding in the lead group in Milan-Sanremo last weekend, still in with a chance as the peloton crested the Poggio. But the 25-year-old suffered a crash in the race’s closing kilometers and finished 50th overall.

A Milan-Sanremo rookie this year, Boeckmans had not previously ridden a race as lengthy as La Primavera, but mentioned patience and readiness as he spoke about his race.

“For me it was something totally new,” Boeckmans told VeloNation about his Milan-Sanremo experience. “I had already heard a lot about it and every year I followed the race very closely. I rode the race without any previous experience with riding more than 250 kilometers.”

Since signing with Silence-Lotto in 2009 as a stagiaire, Boeckmans has always shown a decent turn of speed. He spent 2010 and 2011 with Topsport-Vlaanderen, taking perhaps his biggest win in 2010, on stage five of Ster Elektrotoer, when he took a sprint ahead of Denis Galimzyanov and André Greipel.

In his first full season on a WorldTour team, Boeckmans has been there or thereabouts in flat finishes throughout the first three months of the season. Though he has yet to open his account, he sounds more than mature as he continues to develop, illustrated by his preparations for Milan-Sanremo.

“I put in a lot of thought and planning way ahead, with a little trepidation, planning to approach the course with an attitude of efficient riding,” he added. “Nowhere did I make any mistakes. I ate and drank at the times that I had in mind. I left nothing to chance until the second time we had to correct a corner.

“The third time I over-corrected and off I went full out on my right side – five and a half kilometers from the finish of my dream race, and all this with super legs. A missed opportunity but I remember the positives. I rode with the greats on the Poggio. This was my first big ride!”

Though Boeckmans did go down, he was able to finish and wasn’t bad off at the end of the day.

“I went out the next day with my cycling club in the village to do a 100-kilometer ride and everything already felt good on the bike,” he said. The Belgian also went down during Wednesday’s Dwars door Vlaanderen, and this time was forced to drop out. He reported stiffness and abrasions as a result, as well as a destroyed crash helmet, but should be able to start his next race, Gent-Wevelgem on Sunday.

Boeckmans is confident he can finally grab his first win soon, though his spring campaign comes to a close at Paris-Roubaix.

“I’m riding as good as ever and after Roubaix I’ll take a short break and then continue to work in the second part of the season,” he concluded.

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