CIVIDALE DEL FRIULI, Italy (VN) — American Joe Dombrowski does not want to leave the Giro d’Italia with regrets. Team Cannondale freed him of his helper duties Wednesday so that he could try for a win in stage 13 through Italy’s mountainous northeast.
Dombrowski bridged to day’s breakaway and attacked on the penultimate climb with eventual stage winner Mikel Nieve (Sky). However, he cracked with 33 kilometers remaining and slid backward into the claws of the GC group.
“You just got to go for it,” he said. “If you don’t try, what are you doing here? Riding in the peloton doing nothing? If it doesn’t work out, you can at least go home happy you gave it everything.”
Dombrowski is riding in support of Cannondale leader Rigoberto Urán, but the team gave him the green light to try for a win in the mid-mountain stage through Italy’s Friuli-Venezia Giulia region. He said that he may have paid for the energy spent bridging to the escape that had formed earlier in the stage.
However, he enjoys the rhythm of the Giro, his first participation since he won the “crazier” amateur version in 2012. That win caught team Sky’s attention and helped him to a professional contract. He switched to Cannondale in 2015, made his grand tour debut in the Vuelta a España, and this May, began his first Giro.
“The Baby Giro was crazier,” Dombrowski said. “In amateur racing, there’s not the same control as we have in these races. We don’t have race radios and you don’t have the strength of teams like you do in the pros.”
The 25-year-old from Marshall, Virginia, prefers ciclismo Italiano compared to other races around the world. But last year, he pulled off his biggest professional win in the Tour of Utah.
“It’s obviously a big step from racing the Giro as an amateur. I still like the style of racing in Italy. I’ve not done the Tour de France, but I think it’s a bit more mellow in the Giro.”
Dombrowski beat Italian Fabio Aru to win the Baby Giro. Astana’s Aru placed second in the Giro and won the Vuelta a España in 2015. Cannondale tapped Dombrowski’s climbing skills to support Urán, twice second overall in the Giro.
Urán sits ninth overall at 2:48 behind leader Andrey Amador (Movistar).
“This block coming into Monday’s rest day and next week will be good, it’s my terrain, for sure,” he added. “Rigoberto is at a little bit of a deficit after the time trial in Chianti, but anything can happen. Any of these days suit him.”
His American friend on Team Sky, Ian Boswell, survived a tough day. Boswell pushed through with a sore throat, a cough and a “hakkalugi.”
“I haven’t been sick all season, so we’ll see how this passes,” Boswell said.
“The Giro’s a very different race than any race I’ve done, the Vuelta, the Critérium du Dauphiné, or the Tour of California. The climbs are steep, it’s good for sub-65kg riders [143 pounds]. And I’m not that rider. There are still more days for me, so you never know. Even today, I tried to jump in the break.
“Nieve’s win is awesome, though. We’ve had a rough go in the race with Mikel Landa leaving. This was a good stage for him and it shows the depth of field we have in the Sky team here.”