PASSO GAVIA, Italy (VN) — Joe Dombrowski won the Passo Gavia stage of the GiroBio on Saturday and retook the overall lead with only one stage remaining.
The Bontrager-Livestrong rider, who is racing in Italy for the U.S. national team, attacked with 12km to go in the 168.2km stage. Teammate Larry Warbasse put in a strong pull and then Dombrowski launched, taking a gap and holding it until the top.
“It was a little early but I knew I had to get a big gap if I wanted to take the jersey back. And now I’m back in the lead,” Dombrowski told Italian TV. “It was a really, really hard day, a lot of climbing, and just a lot of suffering.”
Fabio Aru (Team Palazzago) finished second, 43 seconds behind Dombrowski. Third was Matteo Di Serafino (Vega Pref. Montappone) at 2:55.
Dombrowski first took the pink jersey in the so-called “Baby Giro” after soloing to victory on Monday, only to lose it after puncturing on Tuesday’s stage.
He had been sitting seventh overall, more than three minutes behind race leader Ilnur Zakarin (Russian National), going into Saturday’s eighth and penultimate stage. Now Zakarin has fallen to ninth overall at 5:12 behind Dombrowski, who will wear the leader’s jersey in Sunday’s finale, a 123km leg to Asiago.
“It was amazing,” said Dombrowski. “It’s been a race of highs and lows. Taking the pink jersey on Terminillo, then losing it the next day on the Strada Bianchi. Today I was confident I was the strongest, and it felt good to deliver.”
At the Amgen Tour of California, where he rode to fourth on the Mount Baldy stage and finished 12th overall, Dombrowski “had pretty open goals.”
“I didn’t really know what I was capable of at a race of that caliber,” he said. “I came here with one goal; to win the overall. That, to me, was a lot more tangible. When you come in with concrete goals, it’s really satisfying to achieve them.”
Dombrowski takes a 25-second advantage over Fabio Aru (Team Palazzago) into the finale with Pierre Paolo Penasa (Zalf Euromobil Desiree) third at 1:10.
Whatever the final result, Dombrowski plans to head for home, take a break, and then sort out the second half of his season.
In the meantime, he said: “I still have one more day. Hopefully you’ll see me smiling on the podium tomorrow afternoon.”
Editor’s note: Velo managing editor Chris Case contributed to this report.