Age: 26 (12/05/91)
Pro Since: 2013
Joseph Lloyd Dombrowski was born in Marshall, Virginia in 1991. Growing up he was a keen swimmer, played lacrosse and ran cross-country. In fact it wasn't until his early teens that he discovered his passion for cycling. Joe began riding competitively as a Fauquier High freshman in 2006, but concentrated mainly on mountain biking and cyclocross. Although he trained on the road, he was reluctant at first to make the jump into the peloton. “I was into mountain biking at the time, so road racing seemed boring to me. However once I started doing it and understanding it, I really started to enjoy it".
Joe quickly added road racing to his repertoire in 2009 after joining the Haymarket Bicycles team where he competed in races around the Mid-Atlantic. In 2010 he burst into the limelight with a string of impressive rides in regional events, including a win at the Virginia State Hill Climb Championships, where he beat pro mountain biker Jeremiah Bishop by more than two minutes. Later that year he was offered a trial with Trek-Livestrong development team at the Tour of Utah. JD didn't disappoint and they quickly moved to make him a permanent part of their 2011 roster.
Joe split the next two years riding with the national U-23 team, which allowed him to compete in races across Europe, and the renamed Bontrager-Livestrong team. He acquired invaluable race experience in this process and continued to enhance his growing reputation with a number of strong rides. Most notably a jaw dropping performance in the 10-day "Girobio", the junior race to the Giro d’Italia. On the race’s toughest stage - which included more than 18,000 total feet of climbing - Dombrowski blitzed the opposition. The stage victory was his second of the race and good enough to secure top position in the overall GC. It was the first time an American had won the Baby Giro and it wasn't long before a number of UCI pro teams came knocking on his door.
Joe signed for Team Sky in 2013 and although the first half of his season was interrupted by a knee injury, he finished the year strongly with credible performances in China and Japan. However the knee pain resurfaced in 2014 and Joe was forced to sit out the first half of the season again. When he returned, he only managed to finish two races before a loss of power in his left leg required surgery, resulting in a premature end to his season.
In 2015, Joe joined the newly branded "Cannondale-Garmin“ team and made a solid start to the season with a top ten finish at the Tour de San Luis. In May, he lead the team at the Tour of California and an impressive weeks riding saw him secure a top five position in the Overall GC. He maintained his superb form throughout the summer with a podium finish at the National Championships before winning a stage and the Overall GC at the Tour of Utah. In September, Joe closed out the season strongly by finishing his first Grand Tour, the Vuelta a Espana, where he caught the eye with a couple of impressive rides on the hillier stages.
In 2016, Joe made his Giro d’Italia debut riding in support of teammate Rigoberto Uran. However when Uran lost time during stage 9, Joe was given more freedom for the latter stages. He impressed with a series of attacks on the mountain stages, including a 3rd place finish on stage 20, his first podium finish at World Tour level. After finishing top 10 at the Tour of Utah in the summer, Joe then completed his third Grand Tour riding in support of teammate Andrew Talansky at the Vuelta.
In 2017, he will continue to ride for Cannondale-Drapac and will look to feature in the upcoming Grand Tours.All photography provided courtesy of Graham Watson and Cannondale-Drapac.
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