Joe Dombrowski. Photo: Shawn Lortie
All the talk at this year’s USA Pro Cycling Challenge is the American contenders: Levi Leipheimer, Tejay Van Garderen, Christian Vande Velde, Tom Danielson. Because of the combination of high altitude and racing on familiar terrain and the extra motivation of winning in front of a home crowd, the U.S. cyclists are dictating the race.
But one name you might not have heard yet is Joe Dombrowski. In just his second full year of racing with the Bontrager Livestrong development team, the skinny, 20-year-old climber is a total newcomer to the scene. But what he lacks in longevity, he’s made up for with results. Prior to his first appearance at a pro-level race two years ago (the 2010 edition of the Tour of Utah), this Virginia native’s racing experience amounted to a season of casual, sport-class mountain biking. Since then, he has racked up an impressive string of results, including third overall at the 2012 Tour of the Gila and fourth overall at this year’s Tour of Utah. In May, he showed considerable poise when he outgunned some of the best climbers in the world to finish fourth on the prestigious Mt. Baldy stage at the Tour of California. And he followed that up with a searing stage victory on the Gavia to seal the overall win at the Under-23 Giro d’Italia.
On Stage 2 of the USAPCC, he rolled in seventh on the day alongside climbing ace Tom Danielson and slipped into the best young rider’s jersey. We caught up with this up-and-comer after the race.