After losing Peter Kennaugh during stage 2 at the USA Pro Challenge, Team Sky's debut appearance Stateside took another hit when general classification hopeful Joe Dombrowski withdrew prior to stage 3 from Breckenridge to Steamboat Springs. Dombrowski was a revelation of the 2012 USA Pro Challenge when, riding for the US Continental Bontrager-Livestrong squad, he finished 10th overall and won the best young rider's jersey. His 2012 season also featured a monumental victory in Italy's Baby Giro as well as a fourth place overall finish at the Tour of Utah.
The 22-year-old American jumped to the WorldTour for 2013 with Team Sky and the USA Pro Challenge would be his first race in his home country in Sky colours. Sky brought a powerhouse squad to Colorado, replete with Tour de France champion Chris Froome, lieutenant Richie Porte plus Kanstantsin Siutsou and Peter Kennaugh from the squad's Tour roster.
Dombrowski was tipped as their general classification contender, but after suffering nosebleeds on the opening stage, his stint in Colorado ended after stage 2 with him in 26th place overall at 1:04, Sky's highest-placed rider on general classification.
"I had a nosebleed the first day during the stage and since I've been getting three, four, five nosebleeds a day," Dombrowski told Cyclingnews in Breckenridge prior to stage 3. "This morning I woke up with a lot of blood in my mouth so I went to the team doctor and he felt like it wasn't a good idea to keep racing and have it be a recurring thing. He just said I'm not allowed to start today."
With Dombrowski no longer competing, his young American teammate Ian Boswell, 22, became Sky's best GC rider in 37th at 2:43.
"We don't really have anything for GC anymore but I guess you could look at the bright side of it in that a lot of the guys have lost so much time I think they have a bit more of a leash to go for stages."
Dombrowski cited the lack of acclimatization to altitude as the main factor contributing to Sky's showing in Colorado.
"I think everybody's on a bit different level. We flew straight from Europe to this race and I think the team's now realizing that altitude is a major factor so I think they'll just do what they can. At this point I think they'll just try for some stages and make the best of it."
Dombrowski expects to close out his first season at Sky with three WorldTour events: the two one-day races in Canada, the GP Cycliste de Québec and GP Cycliste de Montréal in mid-September, with the Tour of Beijing, October 11-15, concluding his year.
First, though, is some family time and then a return to his home state of Virginia.
"My family came out to watch so I'll probably hang a few days out here with them in Colorado, go back home to Virginia, train there and then do the Canadian [WorldTour] races," said Dombrowski. "I'm not sure I'll go back to Europe before the Tour of Beijing or if I'll fly straight from the US."