Joe Dombrowski (Cannondale) was still angry with himself after finishing the stage to Andalo, knowing that he had perhaps missed out on a chance to win a mountain stage at the Giro d'Italia. He could only look on it as a lesson learned for the future.
The 25-year-old American impressed with eighth place in Sunday's mountain time trial and appears to be Cannondale's strongest rider after Rigoberto Uran was slowed by bronchitis.
Dombrowski showed his abilities by making the selection with race leader Steven Kruijswijk (LottoNL-Jumbo) and other overall contenders on the Passo della Mendola, as Esteban Chaves (Orica-GreenEdge) struggled with 65km still to race. However as the road flattened but the speed stated high, Dombrowski lost contact in a split second. He tried to chase but eventually sat up, shouting at himself in anger for losing contact.
Alejandro Valverde (Movistar) went on to win the stage ahead of Kruijswijk after further attacks cracked Vincenzo Nibali (Astana) at the end of a aggressive and intense day of racing.
"It sounds stupid to make into the break on the climb and then get dropped on he flat but that's what happened," Dombrowski told Cyclingnews post-stage.
"There was a lot of jumping and everyone was taking each other off the back to make people pull. At one point a gap opened and I just couldn't close it. When I saw the break ride away from me and I thought: I'm an idiot."
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A rookie mistake while riding for the win
If anything Dombrowski had been perhaps a little too aggressive and over generous in the break. He attacked on the climb to join a move that included Bob Jungels (Etixx-QuickStep) and Diego Ulissi (Lampre-Merida). He was riding to win the stage but the move was caught by the big-name overall contenders who were trying to distance Chaves.
"I think it was just inexperience. I didn't have an obligation to pull because I had my GC rider behind," Dombrowski explained.
"I rode across to the break by myself and then the GC guys came across. It was a big effort for me just to get across. Then we were jumping around in the break and riding hard on the flat, it was there that a just a gap that opened. I maybe did a bit too much work to close it and then I looked behind and couldn't catch the guy's wheel came by. After that it was game over."
He explained that his mistake was one of position on the wheels.
"They're here to win the Giro, I'm just here to try to win a stage. Lets be honest, I'm not as strong as they are. If they're going to try to win the Giro, I have every right to sit on and try to win the stage," Dombrowski argued.
"Even if Valverde and Nibali scream at you, you've got to sit last wheel and don't go through. If you sit behind the guys rotating, they keep opening a gap and make you get in the rotation. I should have just sat very last wheel."
After going on the attack during stage 13 to Cividale del Friuli but failing to stay away, Dombrowski was proud to have least tried his hand and gone on the attack. He was more disappointed this time but has no intention of sitting in the peloton until Turin.
"I tried but I guess I made a bit of a rookie mistake this time. But sometimes you screw up and it is what it is," he said.
"I'm going super well, so I think the last two days suit me more than today. We'll see if I can pull something out."
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