UAE Emirates officials confirmed Thursday he would not start the sixth stage, and he joins Mikel Landa (Bahrain-Victorious) and Pavel Sivakov (Ineos Grenadiers) in leaving the Giro early after a spate of crashes in the closing kilometers of stage 5.
It was hardly the kind of birthday Dombrowski was hoping for, who was racing Thursday in the Giro’s King of the Mountains jersey while celebrating his 30th birthday.
The American rider crashed hard along with Landa and others after colliding with a road marshal, who was warning riders of a traffic island in the roadway with about 5km to go in a high-speed approach to the sprint finish.
According to a report in the Spanish sports daily AS, it appears Dombrowski struck a safety marshal that was signaling the traffic island with a flag. The marshal was not seriously injured in the impact, but is out of the Giro, the report said.
Dombrowski rode to the finish line in Cattolica more than eight minutes behind the leaders, with a bloodied face and holding his left wrist away from his handlebars.
He was taken to the hospital for further examinations, which revealed no broken bones, but a possible concussion.
Further tests Thursday morning confirmed the initial assessment, and the team pulled him out of the race.
“Unfortunately, today I won’t be able to start the stage here at the Giro. We did the concussion protocol last night and followed it up again this morning. With the doctors and the team, we decided it was not safe for me to start today,” Dombrowski said in a video.
“Obviously, I’m disappointed. It was a really dangerous final yesterday and I just wanted to take the risk to be in the front because I felt it was a unique possibility to be in the pink jersey. It’s not so often you have an opportunity like that. Now, I’m just focused on my recovery and we’ll look to see what the next races are.”
💬 💙| @JoeDombro had a message for you all.
— @UAE-TeamEmirates (@TeamEmiratesUAE) May 13, 2021
“Formal neuro-physiological testing at the team hotel last night revealed a balance impairment,” a UAE-Team Emirates statement said. “This morning he was reassessed and there is a further increase in the balance impairment. He is officially diagnosed with a concussion and will not continue the race.”
Dombrowski was poised in second place overall at the time of the crash after winning stage 4 to Sestola from a breakaway.
Broken bones for Mikel Landa and Pavel Sivakov
Landa did not remount after a brutal impact and was transported to a local hospital in a neck brace on a stretcher. Scans revealed a broken collarbone and several fractured ribs.
“In the final kilometers of the race, Mikel Landa was taken down in a crash involving three other riders after a collision at a traffic island,” Bahrain-Victorious said in a statement. “Landa has been taken to Riccione Hospital, where he is receiving treatment for a broken collarbone and multiple ribs on his left side.
“Landa remained conscious throughout and is in good spirits to get back on the bike as soon as possible.”
🚨 Medical update 🚨@MikelLandaMeana has been taken to Riccione Hospital, where he is receiving treatment for a broken collarbone and multiple ribs on his left side.
🗞️ Read morehttps://t.co/OuaMPEfeZQ
— Team Bahrain Victorious (@BHRVictorious) May 12, 2021
Sivakov came down in a separate crash on his own with 15km to go when his bike appeared to become tangled with a tree branch. Though he continued to ride to the finish line, he did not return to the front group to finish last on the stage and was later diagnosed with a broken collarbone.
“Today is a bad day for us because Pavel had a big crash with 15km to go. There were a lot of small towns and roads, then when he crashed he immediately felt pain,” said sport director Matteo Tosatto.
“He finished the stage, but in the end, after the check-in hospital, they found a fracture in his collarbone and he’s abandoned the race. Pavel had an important role, he was the second leader for GC, and a key support rider for Egan in the mountains.
“Now it’s important that the other guys stay strong because of having one guy less, but at the same time, it’s important to support each other and stay positive. It’s difficult, but it’s important to stay positive.”
French rider François Bidard (AG2R-Citroën), who also went down with Landa and Dombrowski, did not start Thursday due to injuries from the crash.