The Cuban Missile just couldn’t do it. Eight months after quietly retiring, Ivan Dominguez is back on the bike and aiming for the professional peloton in 2012.
“I know a lot of people have no idea why I stopped racing,” Dominguez said. “But after 20 years on the saddle, racing everywhere, and some really nice wins, I decided to take time off and retire. My wife and son had been there for me all that time and I wanted to spend more time with them, my family. But when the Tour of California came around, I texted Chris Horner to congratulate him on winning stage 4. He texted me back with a thank you, and told me that I should get back on the bike and be out there kicking butts too.”
Dominguez retired following a disappointing 2010 campaign with Jamis-Sutter Home. For the first time in his career, the Cuban immigrant went the entire season without a win after fracturing his arm in a race in South America early in the year. After a long season that saw Dominguez at times lacking motivation, he hung up his cleats unceremoniously in January.
But even in his short retirement, which became official at the beginning of 2011, Dominguez was active on Southern California and Florida group rides. He hinted for weeks on his Facebook page about “big news” and announced over the weekend that he would join elite amateur squad MRI Performance-Franco Bicycles beginning immediately. Dominguez’s first race back was Sunday’s Brentwood Grand Prix criterium in Brentwood, California, won by SKLZ-Pista Palace’s Eric Marcotte.
When he decided to begin training again, Dominguez, winner of stages at the Tours of California, Missouri and Georgia, turned to Franco Bicycles for a loaner. That inquiry turned into much more.
“The guys at Franco have a team that is sponsored by MRI Performance and they mentioned that they were looking to move up to the pro class for the rest of 2011 and asked me to be a part of it,” said Dominguez. “I said, ‘Let’s do it!’ They are also currently looking to build a pro team for 2012.”
Lead sponsor MRI Performance is the marketer of nutritional supplements including Beta Alanine Extreme and NO2 Red Hemo Surge.
The news of Dominguez’s return comes on the eve of the Tour of Utah, his last professional race. In his return, Dominguez will surely look to erase the memories of 2010 and prove Horner right.