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Giro d'Italia

Giro d’Italia: Joe Dombrowski last man standing in Blockhaus breakaway

Astana-Qazaqstan climber rides into another breakaway that was doomed by the GC teams: 'It's always the peloton that decides.'

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BLOCKHAUS, Italy (VN) — Joe Dombrowski ran out of asphalt in his breakaway bid for victory Sunday up the decisive Blockhaus summit finale at the Giro d’Italia.

The Astana-Qazaqstan climber rode into the day’s main breakaway, but when he heard on the race radio that the gap was coming down from five minutes, the American knew the effort was doomed.

“In the end, it’s always the peloton that decides,” Dombrowski said at the line. “I think it was Trek pulling from behind, and I felt like they were doing the work for Ineos, and then Ineos just needed to close the deal.

“On a stage like this, if the real GC contender teams only have to pull the last two climbs, it doesn’t cost so much,” he said. “I was a little bit doubtful when I saw the gap was hanging around five, five-thirty. To be honest, on a climb like this, it needs to be closer to 10.”

Dombrowski was the last rider caught near the base of the Blockhaus, and later raced up at his own pace in what was his second big breakaway effort of this Giro. He also attacked up Mount Etna in stage 4.

“When you only have a minute or so at the bottom, it’s kind of a fool’s errand,” he said. “I felt good. I more or less forced the breakaway with my legs. Once I got caught, I take the radio out, and I go my own pace.”

Dombrowski said Sunday’s effort could have paid more dividends, but when Trek-Segafredo upped the pace early to keep overnight leader Juanpe López within range, the effort was doomed.

“For a while, I was thinking maybe I will try to hang on and see how I go in the bunch,” he said. “If you’re going to drop anyway if you’ve been anyway because you’ve been away in the front, it’s better just to go at my pace.”

Dombrowski came to this Giro as a super-domestique for Miguel Ángel López, but the Colombian pulled out on the Giro’s fourth stage.

Dombrowski, who won a stage in last year’s Giro, said the team will now rally around Vincenzo Nibali. The veteran Italian stayed close to the action Sunday, and crossed the line eighth at 38 seconds back.

Nibali climbed up to 13th overall at 3:04 back, while Dombrowski expects more chances before this Giro is out.

“We came here for GC, with López, and plans changed, and I think with Vincenzo, we’ll see how he goes through the race. It’s also up to him what he wants to do,” Dombrowski said. “I would have more of a free role than was originally anticipated.

“The Giro is still long and we’re only at the first rest day tomorrow, and I will be looking forward to that.”