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The 31-year-old has ridden 11 grand tours throughout his career, but he only got the call up to ride the French race for the first time this season after a decade in the top tier of cycling.
Finally riding the Tour de France is a childhood dream come true for Dombrowski and he’s trying to make sure that he takes as much of it in and not let the occasion breeze past in the usual blur of a pro cycling season.
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“It’s cool. I remember watching this as a kid in my mom and dad’s living room and when you’re that age you just dream of being there,” Dombrowski said after completing the opening stage time trial. “In the shuffle of pro cycling you almost lose that sort of perspective to step back and think I’m here and I’m finally where I always wanted to be.
“We’re always chasing the next thing and you never enjoy it. So, for me today I enjoyed a lot. I normally don’t enjoy time trials but I enjoyed this because this is my 10th year in the WorldTour and I’m finally at the Tour. It’s really nice.”
For Dombrowski, this is the second grand tour of the season after racing the Giro d’Italia back in May, where he went out in search of stage victories. He didn’t have much time to recover from his efforts as he rode the Route d’Occitanie little more than two weeks later and is now underway at the Tour de France.
He’s only once previously ridden two grand tours in the same season when he rode the Vuelta a España last year after crashing out of the Giro d’Italia in the first week. It’s very much unchartered territory for Dombrowski.
“This is the first time I’ve done back-to-back grand tours so I’m going a bit into the unknown, it’s not the same as when you prepare specifically for a grand tour. I didn’t go to altitude, I just stayed at home, which I wouldn’t normally do,” he said.
It wasn’t the easiest start to his first Tour de France with a very technical time trial on wet roads to open the race. Nevertheless, Dombrowski has been enjoying his time in Denmark so far and even managed to get some joy out of riding the time trial, not one of his most favored disciplines.
“It was nice. It was a huge turnout in Copenhagen and you can see that the people here are crazy for cycling so it’s always nice to see it,” Dombrowski said. “I also saw riding around the last few days all of the infrastructure for the bikes. It’s obviously a country that is using the bike a lot, both to go to work but also doing like us. It’s been nice and I enjoyed the first day, I didn’t crash and I got home safe.
“There were a few corners where even I didn’t take any risks, I just took it pretty easy, but I could feel that my tires were sliding a bit. If you wanted to win today, you needed to take a lot of risk.”