VeloNews: Tell me just how satisfied you are with this victory. Was it the hardest victory of your young career?
Joe Dombrowski: It was really satisfying. In the past couple years, I have finished on the podium in a number of stage races, but this was my first GC win. Winning a GC this year was a goal I set in this past off-season and it felt really good to execute. I have to say, I also found it gratifying to deliver results when my teammates and director put so much faith in me and sacrificed so much.
Having started the second-to-last stage with a three-minute deficit to the leader, I knew it would take a lot to regain the pink jersey. I attacked on the Gavia with 12 kilometers to go, established a gap, and rode solo to the top. Once I got my gap to around 40 seconds, it didn’t budge. I was virtually in the jersey by a mere fifteen seconds. I could see Fabio Aru chasing a switchback or two behind the whole way and it became a man-on-man drag race to the top. I’ve never suffered out the last hour of a bike race like I did that day.
VN: This is a huge victory not only for you but for American cycling. Can you put this result into context?
JD: It’s been really special. The number of messages of support I have received from back home has been unreal. Even the race organizers seemed to be really excited to have the U.S. team there, and they were over the moon when we won the overall.
VN: I know I asked you about this before, but has this changed your thoughts on 2013? Have you had even more contact with WorldTour teams now? Do you have more confidence that you can go pro and not be in over your head?
JD: This has certainly brought more offers to the table. At this point, I’m still not totally sure what I want to do next year, but I do know that whatever decision I make will be one that I have thought through thoroughly.
I think making your first decisions as a neo-pro are the most important decisions of your career. You can totally change your trajectory, for better or worse, and it’s something you shouldn’t rush through. I’m in this for the long haul.
VN: Did the Italians play dirty?
JD: The racing style was a little crazy. You had to be ready for anything all the time. I’ll just say I won’t make the mistake of stopping for a pee break again! Especially by the end of the race though, I felt we had developed a lot of good relationships in the peloton and if I had the opportunity to do GiroBio again, I’d love to.
VN: How did you celebrate?
JD: After the race we drove back to our base in Lucca. That night we went out for a nice dinner downtown at one of our favorite restaurants. I’m back home now, and enjoying a week off the bike. A little downtime, and catching up with friends at home is going to be really nice!