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Sky’s Julich gears up for Boswell and Dombrowski mentorship

  • By Gregor Brown
  • Published Oct. 15, 2012
Bobby Julich and Sky were able to pull Ian Boswell (pictured) and Joe Dombrowski away from the American squads. Photo: Casey B. Gibson | www.cbgphoto.com

Editor’s note: Joe Dombrowski is featured in Velo magazine’s November 2012 issue, available now at booksellers and bike shops. The issue, headlined by cover-man Tejay van Garderen, focuses on the future of American cycling in the wake of the U.S. Postal Service doping case.

MILAN (VN) — Despite all that is in the news this fall, Bobby Julich is looking ahead to 2013 with a smile. Ian Boswell and Joe Dombrowski will come under his watch at Sky, doubling the number of Americans in the British super team.

“So many of the interesting riders are snatched up by the American teams right away or come through the farm system and go to the pro team so quickly, so you don’t have a chance,” Julich told VeloNews. “I remember one of the comments that came in when I put these guys on the draft board: ‘It will be really tough to keep these guys away from the American teams.’”

Sky announced earlier this month that the 21-year-old Bontrager-Livestrong teammates would join the team for next year, Boswell signing through 2015 and Dombrowski through 2014. They are only the second and third Americans to join as the team enters its fourth year, making four Yankees, with experienced hand Pate and race coach Julich.

“They have a guy like Tim Kerrison, who came from rowing and swimming, who’s relatively new to cycling, but he’s very much into the numbers and data,” Dombrowski told VeloNews. “It’s great to have the science and best scientist, but if you don’t balance it, it can get a bit one-sided. Bobby complements that nicely.”

Dombrowski won the “Baby Giro,” or the amateur Giro d’Italia, and Boswell placed second in the U23 Liège-Bastogne-Liège this season — the best-ever American result in the amateurs’ classic — but they both have miles to cover before they can win in the pro ranks.

“I’ve gone through a similar path, kind of chucking the American teams and going to a foreign team, though this is not as foreign as when I went to the French or German team,” said Julich, who first raced in Europe as a pro in 1997 with Cofidis. “The best thing is that you can really communicate, and communication when you are young is paramount.”

Julich said that Boswell and Dombrowski are both raw talents and that they will only benefit from racing alongside riders like Tour de France winner Bradley Wiggins and Edvald Boasson Hagen. And Julich is the man to guide the young Americans into their neo-pro year. After a meeting this week in London and helping them find housing in Nice, France, in December, he will begin his work at a training camp in Mallorca before the end of the year.

“I went back in time and did research to see where they excel and where they are under,” said Julich. “The time trial is going to be an area open to huge improvements. They were on a team with great equipment, but it’s more the homework behind the art of the time trial: increasing the core strength, doing the training on the time trial bike, getting more comfortable in that position.”

In London, Boswell and Dombrowski will receive a rough outline of their race programs. Julich did not rule out a grand tour debut in 2013.

“Joe, even more than Ian, has a huge future in stage races,” said Julich. “Once he gets a taste of the WorldTour races, especially if he can climb like he can, I think he will adapt quickly.”

Julich said that Dombrowski is tall and skinny, and bound to put on muscle mass. He wants to make sure that it is in the right spots. Dombrowski showed himself this year with solid GC rides at the Larry H. Miller Tour of Utah and USA Pro Challenge. Boswell, Julich said, impressed with his results in Liège, the Tour de l’Avenir and Amgen Tour of California.

“We need to see where he fits in the team, what races motivate him and compare ideas on race schedules, just going with the flow,” said Julich. “But, definitely, when you get second in the amateur Liège-Bastogne-Liège, you obviously have talent in those sort of one-day races.”

Julich raced until 2008, placed third in the Tour and won Paris-Nice. Over the telephone, the excitement rang through when he spoke about the duo, nearly 20 years younger.

“You can see with the motors they have and the heads they have on their shoulders that they are going to go far.”

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Gregor Brown

Gregor Brown

Bikes kept Gregor Brown out of trouble growing up in Oklahoma — BMX, freestyle and then watching Greg LeMond's Tour de France wins on CBS television's weekend highlights shows. The drama of the 1998 Tour, however, truly drew him into the fold. With a growing curiosity in European races and lifestyle, he followed his heart and established camp on Lake Como's shores in 2004. Brown has been following the Giro, the Tour and every major race in Europe since 2006. He will tell you it is about the "race within the race" – punching out the news and running to finish – but he loves a proper dinner, un piatto tipico ed un vino della zona.

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