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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia: ‘Cycling isn’t only about legs, you need a bit of luck,’ says Joe Dombrowski

The American says he will still have some freedom to go in breaks despite Vincenzo Nibali's climb up the GC standings.

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BELVEDERE, Italy (VN) — Joe Dombrowski (Astana-Qazaqstan) was left ruing his bad luck in the breakaways after being caught on what he thought was a sure-fire chance for the break on stage 14 of the Giro d’Italia.

The American tried his hand in the move in the first week on Blockhaus, only to be caught by the GC contenders searching for a stage win.

He had another go on the mountainous circuit around Turin on Saturday but was mopped up with just under 70km to go after Bora-Hansgrohe ripped up the scripts with a day-long raid of the race. Dombrowski held on as long as he could but would ultimately finish 18th at more than 10 minutes down.

Also read: Dombrowski last rider standing in Blockhaus break

“I was in the breakaway but like on my day to Blockhaus it is the peloton that decides if they want to let you go and today they decided not,” Dombrowski told VeloNews after the finish. “I’m not having the best luck with the breakaway game but you have to try. Cycling isn’t only about legs, you need a bit of luck.

“It was hard and hot, I don’t expect to suffer in the heat like the Vuelta, at the Giro but I did.”

Dombrowski was part of a 12-man break that went clear in the early part of the stage and built up a reasonable lead on the peloton behind. However, it was quickly demolished when Bora-Hansgrohe started ramping up the pace with about 84mk to go.

“To be honest, when we had that group and I saw that it went to two minutes 40, I thought they were just going to let us go but then on Blockhaus I thought they were going to let us go and that I was going to win the stage. But that’s how it goes,” he said.

Though Dombrowski’s fortune escaped him again, it was still a very good day for the Astana team with GC leader Vincenzo Nibali being one of the few that was able to hang onto the front group in the finale. With the time gaps so big at the finish, Nibali has shot up five places overall into eighth place at 2:58 behind race leader Richard Carapaz (Ineos Grenadiers).

As the GC battle becomes tenser, Dombrowski may be called into the service of his team leader but the 31-year-old believes his breakaway days aren’t done yet.

“Vincenzo is a rider that has always gone well in the third week, but I think I’ll have my space and opportunities and I think that I can help him, we’ll just play it by ear,” Dombrowski said.

Speaking to VeloNews, Dombrowski revealed that he had been suffering with some back pain while riding during this Giro d’Italia. He put it down to moving riding positions on his bike and hopes that he’ll find a solution soon.

“I’ve been struggling a little bit with some position changes, but I think we’ll sort it out. Sometimes that’s just how it is,” he said.

After a lot of rolling stages in the second week, the Giro d’Italia is heading back to terrain that is better suited to Dombrowski. He’s going to try to make it into the break as often as he can but he’s eying the mountainous stage 17 from Ponte di Legno to Laverone in particular.

“I’ll try again through all the last week. It’s all a matter of trying to be in the breakaway. For example, on stage 17 when it starts on a climb it’s easy to be there because if you have the legs then you’re there,” he said.

“All of the last week, if you want to try and win a stage from the break I think you need to try every day that it suits you because it’s not every day that you try to be in the break that you’ll be there.”