Team Sky have continued their recruitment drive for 2013 by signing talented American duo Joe Dombrowski and Ian Boswell.
Dombrowski and Boswell, both 21 years old and strong climbers, join the squad as neo-pros after two seasons riding together for the Bontrager-Livestrong Under 23 team.
Dombrowski claimed his first senior win at the 2010 Virginia Hill Climb Championships before crossing the Atlantic in 2011 to sample the European racing scene. That year he topped the Young Rider Classification at the Giro della Valle d’Aosta – taking a stage victory in the process and finishing second overall – before being crowned King of the Mountains and claiming another podium finish at the Ronde de l’Isard.
The Virginian went from strength to strength in the 2012 season and proved he could compete with the best riders in the world at the Tour of California when he finished a remarkable fourth on the queen stage to the summit of Mount Baldy.
That fine form continued at the Baby Giro d’Italia, where Dombrowski sealed the overall victory with two mountain stage wins. Before the season was out, he displayed his climbing prowess once again by finishing fourth at the prestigious Tour of Utah, and also wrapped up a top-10 position in the USA Pro Cycling Challenge.
Boswell meanwhile, first marked himself out as one to watch back in 2010 when he won the Nevada City Cycling Classic and finished third at the Tour of Utah, taking the best young rider’s jersey in the process. He would defend his Cycling Classic title in 2011, and this season produced a gutsy ride to finish second in the U23 Liege-Bastogne-Liege.
Those performances, and another top-five finish at the Tour of Utah, saw him join Argos-Shimano as a stagiaire before the season was out, and Boswell also did his country proud by finishing fifth overall at the Tour de l’Avenir.
After putting pen to paper on his deal, Dombrowski said: “It’s exciting and I’m looking forward to spending the next couple of years at Team Sky. I chose the team because it is the best programme in the world right now and I’m looking forward to having this great opportunity to learn.
“It’s a big step but my focus is on integrating into the team, learning from the great staff and riders, and living and racing in Europe full-time. If I can do all that in the first year then I’d consider it a success.
“I’m happy to be joining the team with my American team-mate Ian and I’m looking forward to getting to know the rest of the guys.”
Boswell has similar ambitions for the coming years, and told us: “I’m really excited to be joining Team Sky. It’s like signing for the Yankees in baseball. It’s the best team in the world. Team Sky have the best equipment, best riders, best staff, and the best organisation. To be a part of a team like this in my first professional season is an honour.
“I tend to be a climber or a GC rider, which is a good role to have on this team. There are a lot of older riders who are similar to me in that respect, and I want to learn as much as I can from them. I’m excited to work with this team and I want to progress and develop with them.
“During my first year my aim is to learn as much as I can from everyone - from the staff, coaches and riders, and just become the most successful professional that I can be.”
Race Coach Bobby Julich is delighted that Team Sky have sealed the services of two of his country's most precocious talents, and he said: “Bontrager-Livestrong - and especially USA Cycling - have done a great job developing these guys into the riders they are today and we want to continue that hard work now to ensure they reach their full potential in the future.
“Ian and Joe are two of the most talented under-23 riders in the world and we will offer them the best possible race and training programmes to aid their progression. We see this as a long-term project at Team Sky and it’ll be exciting for everyone involved.
“We must be doing something right if they’ve chosen to sign for us over the American teams. I followed a similar path during my racing career, went through a lot of the same things they are going through at the moment, and I think we can help them a lot.”