Vuelta a Espana

UAE hopes to unlock Dombrowski’s “unfulfilled capacity”

Emirates signs the American climber on a two-year deal hoping that the best is yet to come

GUADALAJARA, Spain (VN) — Sometimes change is good. Joe Dombrowski is certainly hoping a new jersey for 2020 will bring good tidings.

After racing with Team Sky and EF-Education First since turning pro in 2013, the 28-year-old American heads to UAE-Emirates on a two-year deal for 2020-21.

Sport manager Joxean Fernández Matxín said he believes the best is yet to come for Dombrowski.

“I have this ‘feeling’ that he is a rider who hasn’t been able to give not even 40 percent of his potential,” Fernández said. “I believe he has a big margin for improvement.”

Dombrowski is enjoying his best pro season in the past few years, with a solid Giro d’Italia capped by a stage win and third overall at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah.

UAE-Emirates confirmed Dombrowski’s arrival this week, and he’ll join compatriot Brandon McNulty, who is leaving Rally-UHC to make the leap to the WorldTour next season.

“We had already spoken with Joe last year and we kept talking, and he’ll fit in fine with us,” Fernández said. “He’s a rider with whom I’ve always liked and whom I believe has a tremendous unfulfilled capacity.”

Dombrowski is the latest arrival for UAE-Emirates in what is part of a major shakeup for the team. GC captain Dan Martin is out the door, moving to Israel Cycling Academy, along with some other veteran riders, including Rui Costa and Rory Sutherland, who are also expected to leave.

Other confirmed arrivals for UAE-Emirates include ace leadout man Max Richeze (Deceuninck-Quick-Step), who will help guide Fernando Gaviria in the bunch sprints. Davide Formolo (Bora-Hansgrohe) and promising Danish time trial rider Mikkel Bjerg (Hagens Berman Axeon) are also set to join.

With Tadej Pogacar and Fabio, Fernández said Dombrowski is just the kind of rider they need to help in the mountains. But he also said Dombrowski will have space to chase his own results.

“He’s a rider who has to keep working and keep improving,” Fernández said. “He will work with us and find his place, like any professional does. We are going to back him, support him, and give him space to perform on this team.”

Fernández is hoping Dombrowski will be able to deliver the kind of results many expected when he turned pro with Sky.