Joe Dombrowski: breaking down and bouncing back
The young American is restored to full health, has a new team and top five finishes at the Tour of California and the US championships. La Vuelta and possible leadership await Joe Dombrowski
Joe Dombrowski could talk for America, which might have been a useful sideline had he not had career-saving surgery to correct the condition iliac endofibrosis in his left leg.
He is honest and highly articulate; more open than any journalist who has met him just once, in the restaurant queue at a hotel in Austria, has any right to expect.
From the loneliness of the Anglophone neo-pro racing in a strange continent to the challenges of leadership and the frustration of performing with an undiagnosed impediment, Dombrowski is an open book: not reckless or self-indulgent, only frank and engaging.
The American admits to recognising a bleak period in his own life when reading about the breakdown of his directeur sportif Charlie Wegelius in Wegelius' autobiography, Domestique, has an eclectic musical taste that encompasses hip hop and Frank Sinatra, and waxes lyrical both on his enthusiasm for the process of training and racing and the sacrifices that they demand.
His results are pretty handy, too. Since pulling on the green and argyle of Cannondale-Garmin in January, Dombrowski has scored top ten finishes in the Tours of San Luis and California, and finished second at the American championships. Not bad for a rider who is still only 24.