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By Steve Frothingham
Cuban sprinter Ivan Dominguez has won just about every major one-day race in the U.S. since he defected from the Cuban national team at the 1998 Goodwill Games in New York City. Now the “Cuban Missile” is headed to the Fuji-Servetto ProTour team for the 2009 season, and he’ll get his first chance to race in Europe at age 32.
And, in an interview with VeloNews Wednesday, Dominguez said he didn’t want to hear from any doubters about his chances at success.
“For those people, I say, just keep it to yourselves and let me try,” he said.
Dominguez, who had been with the Toyota-United team for three season, was linked to the Rock Racing team last month; he was on the Rock Racing Continental team roster that Rock Racing submitted to USA Cycling.
However, Dominguez said he had no contract with the U.S. team. “We were just talking, I never signed anything with those guys,” he said. Dominguez said there may, however, be some issues to be cleared up between his management and Rock Racing’s lawyers.
Rock Racing has not clarified whether the team ever had a contract with Dominguez, but a team spokesman confirmed that Dominguez is “no longer with Rock Racing.”
Dominguez is looking forward. He is talking to people about finding a place to live in Spain and he expects his first race for the new team will be the Tour Down Under in Australia in January. Then, if Fuji-Servetto is invited, he’ll do the Tour of California in February. From there, the sky’s the limit.
“I would like to do the Giro and the Vuelta a Espana. The Tour de France right now is out of my … well, not out of reach, who knows? But they will probably send me to the Giro and the Vuelta, those are races I like.”
Dominguez said he expected to be a designated sprinter with several leadout men working for him in some events. “Those guys know I’m new to racing there, I’m sure they will be very careful about those things. I need to learn a lot from those guys.”
Dominguez said he began talking to the team seriously only a few weeks ago. His connection with the team came about because of people he knows at the Fuji bike company, a Toyota-United sponsor.
Dominguez is already ramping up his training to make the transition from the domestic scene to Europe.
“I have to now do more long days on the bike, because the races are a lot longer there … The style of racing is a lot faster and a lot longer and you race a lot more,” he said.
Fuji-Servetto’s current roster, according to the release:
Alberto Benítez, Iker Camaño, David Cañada, Eros Capecchi, Ermanno Capelli, Juanjo Cobo, David de la Fuente, Jesús Del Nero, Iván Domínguez, Arkaitz Durán, Alberto Fernández de la Puebla, Ángel Litu Gómez, Héctor González, Beñat Intxausti, Josep Jufré, Javier Megías, Daniele Nardello, Ricardo Serrano, Andrea Tonti, Davide Vigano and William Walker.
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