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Giro d'Italia

How the U.S. riders fared at the Giro d’Italia

Though there were no stage victories, eight American riders left their mark on the 2020 Giro d'Italia.

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There were no stage victories, but eight U.S. riders starting the race left their mark on the 2020 Giro d’Italia.

Two U.S. riders — Brandon McNulty and Larry Warbasse — punched into the top-20 in a hard-fought Giro d’Italia. Chad Haga helped push two Sunweb teammates onto the final podium in Milano. Joe Dombrowski struggled with a stomach bug that the team feared was COVID-19 (it wasn’t). And Joey Rosskopf scored two top-5s, and secure his future as CCC Team folds at the end of the season.

Three more — Brent Bookwalter, Lawson Craddock, and Sean Bennett — left early. Here’s how the U.S. contingent fared at the 2020 Giro d’Italia:

Brandon McNulty (UAE-Emirates), 15th overall

McNulty had a red-hot start before fading and then rallying at the last. Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images

Best stages: Twice hit stage podiums, second in stage 10 and third in stage 14, with two more top-10s.

The grand tour rookie rode into the third week with podium options, settling in fourth overall after the second time trial, until the reality of three weeks of grueling racing caught up. The 22-year-old kept fighting to the end and punched into the top-10 in the final time trial in Milano to cap a promising grand debut that bodes well for the future.

“[Sunday] went well for me. My legs were really really tired, but I just gave everything I had left and I’m happy with another top 10 result. Overall, I’m very happy with my grand tour debut. Four top 10s and a respectable GC result is really nice, and I hope to be able to keep improving over the years.”

Larry Warbasse (Ag2r-La Mondiale), 17th overall

Warbasse came close on stage 9 during a long ride in the break. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images.

Best stages: Rode into winning breakaway to finish fifth in stage 9.

Racing in his seventh grand tour, Warbasse was on the move in breakaways, and never let go in the GC. His 17th in Milano marks a breakthrough top-20 overall and sets him up well going in 2021 as the French team sees a major makeover with the exit of Romain Bardet.

“This was of my best [grand tours], but my standards are higher now so I’m still not quite satisfied. The day [Jhonatan] Narváez won on stage 12 was one of my worst days on the bike ever. I don’t know if I’ve shivered that much for that long in my life.”

Joe Dombrowski (UAE-Emirates), 43rd overall

Dombrowski battled illness through the start of the race. Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images.

Best stages: 25th on stage 9.

The American climber started and finished his eighth career grand tour. Dombrowski helped teammates win stages and fight in the GC despite suffering from a bad stomach in the second week that kept him from matching his 12th overall in last year’s Giro. Just as he recovered, a crash in stage 15 undercut him suffer just when he was hoping to bounce into the breakaways.

“I picked up some kind of stomach bug on the first rest day. Of course, the team doctors were really vigilant, so I did some extra COVID testing—I did two extra swab tests which the race organized in an ambulance. We just wanted to be 100 percent sure, but it seems like it was just a stomach virus. That said, I had four or five days where I was pretty much knocked out and just surviving, and on stage 12 around Cesenatico, we weren’t even sure if I was going to start or not. But I managed to make it through and [could] keep food down.”

Joey Rosskopf (CCC Team), 64th overall

Rosskopf put in an attacking three weeks to narrowly miss the podium two times. Photo: Tim de Waele/Getty Images.

Best stages: 4th place in stage 6 and 12

The Georgia all-rounder completed his sixth grand tour with a career-best 64th.

“It is always a really rewarding feeling to finishing a three-week race. It’s an experience we all go through together and so just making it to the end is an achievement. However, this year we had a lot of success along the way. A stage win is always the goal and Černý did an amazing job to pull that off. The rest of us all had our aggressive days and even just making it into the breakaways on the right days when it will go to the line isn’t something I have been able to do that often in grand tours so that feels like a step in the right direction for me compared to other years. I have had better time trial results in every other grand tour I have done so maybe I traded that a bit for the more aggressive style of chasing breakaways but my legs still feel pretty decent at the end so going into next year, I want to make sure that doesn’t slip at all.”

Chad Haga (Sunweb), 69th overall

Haga put his big motor to use in the Team Sunweb engine room on behalf of Hindley and Kelderman. Photo: Stuart Franklin/Getty Images

Best stages: Seventh in the final-stage time trial in Milano

Haga rode as a hard-working teammate for Sunweb’s best grand tour since he helped Tom Dumoulin win the 2017 Giro. The team finished second and third overall, and Haga has his best rides in the final half of the Giro when he was taking big pulls in the mountains to help protect Jai Hindley and Wilco Kelderman.

“I had good form and good motivation and a real solid team with me as well. I knew from the training and the races I did have before I came into this race that I had good form. My big question mark was really just a matter of how long it would last. I only had 13 race days total this year before the Giro and my longest stage race was four days, so I wasn’t certain how three weeks would go.”

Lawson Craddock (EF Pro Cycling) did not start stage 10 in order to be with his wife for a birth. Brent Bookwalter (Mitchelton-Scott) succumbed to injuries suffered in a crash in the first week. Sean Bennett (EF Pro Cycling) did not start stage 8.

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