Baby Giro: US National team’s Dombrowski aims to emulate Hampsten on Passo di Gavia
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Saturday, June 16, 2012

Baby Giro: US National team’s Dombrowski aims to emulate Hampsten on Passo di Gavia

by Shane Stokes at 6:23 AM EST   comments
Categories: Pro Cycling
 
American to battle to take the Maglia Rosa back

Joe DombrowskiTwenty-four years after Andy Hampsten seized the Maglia Rose in epic conditions on the Passo di Gavia, another American rider will aim to do the same in the amateur version of the race, the GiroBio.

The 21 year old US national team rider Joe Dombrowski has already worn the jersey in the race, winning last Monday’s stage to Monte Terminillo with a superb solo break on the summit finish.

Previous race leader Davide Villella lost two minutes and 24 seconds, placing sixteenth, and lost the pink jersey to Dombrowski by six seconds.

"I was not very sure of my condition, even though I had good impressions a few weeks ago at the Tour of California,” said Dombrowski, referring to his fourth place there in the colours of Livestrong Bontrager on Mount Baldy. “In the end I had a good gap and I was able to succeed despite the fog and wet roads.”

Speaking after the stage, he said that he believed the race would come down to the Gavia, and the potential time gains and losses there meant that he wasn’t concerned if he drifted out of the Maglia Rosa before today’s decisive stage.

That did indeed happen, although not in a way he envisaged. On Tuesday, the first day of his jersey defence, he punctured on the white gravel roads of the strade bianche, being caught out inside the final ten kilometres. The timing of the mishap meant that he waited a long time to get a replacement wheel, and he ended up reaching the finish 27th, three minutes ten seconds behind the stage winner and new overall leader Ilnur Zakarin (Russia). That put him down to seventh overall, three minutes and three seconds back.

Dombrowski finished in the same main bunch yesterday, one minute 27 seconds behind the winner Mirko Trosino (Hopplà Wega Truck Italia). Four days after losing his lead, the same time gaps exist heading into today’s showdown stage. He has identified Fabio Aru (Team Palazzago) and Francesco Bongiorno (Hopplà Wega Truck Italia) as the rivals he most worries about; he is 22 seconds behind the former and 21 seconds ahead of the latter, and will make a huge effort on today’s final climb.

The summit is 2621 metres high and comes after 168.2 kilometres of racing, giving the strong climber an opportunity to clock up a second stage win. If the time gaps are big enough, the Maglia Rosa may also be possible. However whatever happens, it’s already clear that the young Virginian is a huge talent for the future.

The race, better known as the Baby Giro, will finish tomorrow with a 123 kilometre stage to Asiago. Past winners include Francesco Moser, Marco Pantani, Gilberto Simoni, Leonardo Piepoli and Danilo Di Luca, who went on to top pro careers.

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