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 "In terms of exactly what my role will be within the team - if they use me earlier or if they kind of save me for the mountain days - I'm not sure yet."

Photo: Sirotti

JOE DOMBROWSKI

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TOUR OF CALIFORNIA

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11.05.2014 @ 18:56 Posted by Joseph Doherty

Joe Dombrowski has endured a tough time of late with knee problems but he will take the start line in the Tour of California looking to put his months of misery behind him.

 

"I started Coppi e Bartali, but it was somewhat due to the fact that we were short on guys," Dombroswki told Cyclingnews in advance of the California start on Sunday.

 

"It was like, 'We know your knee is injured, but we just don't have the guys, so you at least need to just go and start,'" he said of the Italian race in late March. "I ended up doing a couple of days and then pulling out."

 

In early April he came home to the US to receive treatment where the x-rays showed he has one leg shorter than the other.

 

"It's sort of hard to diagnose, but it's relatively easy to fix," he said. "It will take some time to even back out and get back into it. I've done three weeks of decent training now. So it was good to get that sorted out. I'm just happy really to be back riding my bike and be back on the race schedule."

 

This is Dombrowski’s second chance to race on home soil with Sky after failing to finish last year’s US Pro Challenge after the altitude caused him to have multiple nosebleeds, although that problem has now been fixed. He must get back into the life of the peloton to help Bradley Wiggins but he is unsure of exactly what his role will be after his poor health.

 

"In terms of exactly what my role will be within the team - if they use me earlier or if they kind of save me for the mountain days - I'm not sure yet," he said. "We brought Bradley here to try and win the GC, so I think with that stage 2 time trial coming pretty early - and it looks like it's pretty well suited to him - if he can win that time trial then it's probably a case of us looking after him and defending that lead throughout the rest of the week."

 

Dombrowski is, on paper, an ideal lieutenant for Wiggins and he gave his opinion on the race’s key stages.

 

 "[Diablo is] not too steep, and it's quite a fast climb," Dombrowski said. "I think there will be a considerable group well into the climb there, because it's not the most selective. The Mountain High finish we rode as well. I think that's probably the harder of the mountain days. But again, I just don't know. It doesn't look like it's as hard as in the past when there has been a finish on Baldy or Sierra Road. I don't think it's going to be as selective as that."

 

"I'm just looking forward to getting back to training and racing again," he said. "It's been kind of a slow start, and obviously no one wants to start the year with an injury, but you just have to look at what you can make of it. At least you can look forward to later in the year and kind of shift some of your goals and target something later in the season."

 

Next for Dombrowski will be the Bayern Rundfahrt followed by the Tour de Suisse and a Grand Tour debut at the Vuelta in September, although due to his health he isn’t sure if he will take part in the last two events.

 

"We'll see what pans out throughout the year," he said. "I think [the Vuelta] would be a good way to do my first Grand Tour. Especially starting the year late like this, I definitely would not mind racing later into the year as well."

 

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