Dombrowski stays with EF, interested in dirt events

American Joe Dombrowski renews contract with EF Education First-Drapac in 2019, wants to return to top form after a couple down years.

Joe Dombrowski will ride on with EF Education First-Drapac into 2019, according to a team announcement on Tuesday.

He wants to return to top form in 2019 after two winless seasons, and he has also expressed interest in EF’s plans to dabble in mass-participation off-road events, such as gravel and mountain biking.

“It’s not a secret that the last couple of seasons have not been what I wanted results-wise,” Dombrowski said via the team release.

“I’m focused on doing what I need to do to get back to the level that I know I’m capable of in races.”

The coming year will mark Dombrowski’s fifth season with team. The 27-year-old American joined the squad at the start of 2015 after two years with Team Sky. He won the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah in his first year with the team. Since then, however, he hasn’t reached the top step of the podium.

A natural climber, Dombrowski has been the team’s designated leader in several one-week stage races and is also a card to play in the grand tours. He counts six grand tour starts on his resume, three each at the Giro d’Italia and the Vuelta a España.

“The last couple years have been a bit of a struggle for him, but in the end, talent doesn’t just go away,” team CEO Jonathan Vaughters said. “We want to give that talent an opportunity to rebuild.”

Dombrowski has dabbled in off-road races over the years. He pointed to the team’s commitment to participating in “alternative” cycling events, such as gravel and mountain biking, as a draw for him, provided he stays focused on conventional pro road races.

“My first focus is, of course, on the traditional road calendar, but the alternative race program is also quite interesting,” he said.

“I got my start racing mountain bike and cyclocross. I still jump in the odd cyclocross race in the off-season and in 2016 I raced Leadville with this team.”