With a string of eye-catching results it was no surprise to see Joe Dombrowski turn professional in 2013.
One of the brightest talents on the American scene, Dombrowski crossed the Atlantic in 2011 and topped the Young Rider Classification at the Giro della Valle d’Aosta – taking a stage victory in the process – before being crowned King of the Mountains at the Ronde de l’Isard.
The Virginian went from strength to strength in 2012 and proved he could compete with the best riders in the world at the Tour of California when he finished fourth on the summit of Mount Baldy.
That fine form continued at the Baby Giro, where Dombrowski sealed the overall victory with two mountain stage wins. Before the season was out, he displayed his climbing prowess again by finishing fourth at the Tour of Utah, and it is those climbing legs which mark Dombrowski out as such an exciting prospect.
Q & A
Who inspired you to start cycling?I got into mountain biking with my school friends and moved onto road cycling after that.
First bike:A red and white Trek Top Fuel mountain bike.
First cycling club:The National Capital Velo Club
Childhood hero:My old coach Jeremiah Bishop. He's a mountain bike racer from Virginia and a real local hero.
What do you love most about cycling?I race because I love riding. It's too hard of a sport to just do it for the money. If I ever stop loving it I'll stop racing.
What has cycling taught you?The opportunity to travel has given me a lot more perspective.
Previous teams:2010-11 Bontrager-Livestrong
Favourite race:The Giro d'Italia is my favourite stage race and Liege-Bastogne-Liege is my favourite one day.
Favourite ride:I have a favourite loop out over the Blue Ridge Parkway in Virginia which has great climbs and scenery.
Career highlight:Taking back three and a half minutes on the Gavia to help me win the 2012 Baby Giro.
If you weren't a rider, what would you be?A student and then an economist hopefully.
Interests away from cycling:I like to hike and other outdoor activities.
Favourite film:Shutter Island
Favourite music:I'm pretty eclectic.
Best friend in the peloton:Ian Boswell. It's exciting that we're turning pro together at Team Sky.
Favourite food:Pizza with a glass of wine, finished off with gelato.
Most famous person you've met:Bradley Wiggins
Most embarrassing moment:The crashes I've had on solo training rides.
Interesting fact:I play the violin.
Best advice:Make sure to keep it fun. This sport is too hard to not be enjoying yourself.
Virginia Hill Climb Championships - 1st
Giro della Valle d'Aosta - 1st stage five, 2nd overall, 1st young rider classification; Ronde de l'Isard - 3rd overall, 1st mountain classification
Tour of the Gila - 3rd overall; Tour of California - 4th stage seven; GiroBio - 1st overall and two stage wins; Tour of Utah - 4th overall; USA Pro Cycling Challenge - 10th overall