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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia: How the North Americans fared

Steady support, breakaway efforts, but no stage wins for the four-rider North American contingent.

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The Giro d’Italia wrapped up with a milestone Sunday when Jai Hindley won the maglia rosa to become the first Australian to win the corsa rosa.

Fortunes were varied for the four North Americans starting the 2022 Giro.

Americans Joe Dombrowski (Astana-Qazaqstan), Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco) and Will Barta (Movistar), and lone Canadian Alexander Cataford (Israel-Premier Tech) each played their part across three weeks of racing.

Also read: Here are the fourth North Americans starting in Budapest

No individual wins, but all four made it to Verona, and each helped their respective teams and gave it a go for their own results.

Here are the North American highlights:

Joe Dombrowski (Astana-Qazaqstan)

GC: 22nd overall

Highlight: Dombrowski rode into a few promising breakaways, including up Blockhaus at the end of the first full week in his seventh straight Girl start. He rode to 22nd overall, his second best grand tour result of his career after 12th overall in 2019. He switched into helper mode for much of the final week when Vincenzo Nibali surged into the top-5. Nibali ended up fourth overall in his final Giro.

Also read: “It’s like riding with Kobe Bryant’ — Dombrowski on Nibali

“It’s a bit like riding with Kobe Bryant or someone like that who is an icon of the sport,” Dombrowski said in Aprica after stage 16. “It’s his last year and I would love to see him do something special in this last week and if I can help him and be a part of that then that would be something that’s fun for me.”

Lawson Craddock (BikeExchange-Jayco)

GC: 107th

Highlight: Craddock finished his eighth grand tour after starting in Budapest with a very clear mission to help GC captain Simon Yates. An early crash took the wings out of Yates, who eventually abandoned, and Craddock had freedom to try to ride into some breakaways. BikeExchange-Jayco won three stages across the race in what was still a very successful Giro for the team.

Also read: ‘It’s hot but not compared to Texas’ — Craddock on Giro heat

“We came here aiming for the highest possible result on GC with Simon. Obviously, things didn’t go to plan on Blockhaus, but that’s part of racing, part of the cycle that we’re all used to,” Craddock told VeloNews just before the start of Saturday’s stage 14 in Santena. “It’s definitely caused a change of direction in terms of our goals and a lot of trying to adapt to the current situation.”

Will Barta (Movistar)

GC: 59th overall

Highlight: Barta finished off his first Giro with a solid ride in the final time trial Sunday in Verona in 27th. Barta was brought to the Giro to help Iván Sosa and Alejandro Valverde in the overall. The Colombian suffered early, but Valverde finished 11th in his final Giro. Movistar didn’t win a stage, and Valverde tried in vain to win a stage.

Also read: Barta learning from the masters at Movistar

“It’s the first time in my career riding for someone in the GC and he’s just a class act. Maybe Wednesday [stage 17 to Lavarone] wasn’t the best for him, but Alejandro keeps a positive mood, and he always looks for the positives. He’s really a great guy to ride for,” Barta told VeloNews.

“He can take charge himself but he’s not some super-demanding guy who says I need this, this, and this. He trusts his teammates and he’s really good at reading the race and telling you what you need to do.”

Alexander Cataford (Israel-Premier Tech)

GC: 101st overall

Highlight: Israel-Premier Tech fell short of its goal to win a stage with sprinter Giacomo Nizzolo. Cataford played a key role to help control the breakaways and did plenty of work at the front until the Italian pulled out. Cataford rode into the day’s winning breakaway at Mount Etna in stage 4.

Also read: Cataford lone Canadian in 2022 Giro

I am the only Canadian, it’s fun to be here and I’m excited for this Giro,” he told VeloNews. “There is a big Canadian presence on this team, with the new sponsor coming on with Premier Tech, a big Canadian company, and we have five Canadian riders, and lots of Canadian staffers in the background as well. There is that Canadian element to the team.”