Joe Dombrowski accomplished his first task as a neo-pro, assisting Team Sky in winning the Tour of Oman and finishing the race. The American did the leg-work that contributed to Chris Froome's overall win on Sunday in Muscat.
"Young Joe Dombrowski rode 90 kilometres on the front [on Saturday] which he's never done before. It's great experience for him, something different and a nice little box ticked for him," Sky's principal, David Brailsford told Cycling Weekly.
"It's a new team, and you've got to learn to ride. All the other teams put us under pressure, and they responded. It sets it up for the rest of the season."
Alongside Froome and Bradley Wiggins, Brailsford also fielded newly-signed riders Dario Cataldo and Vasil Kiryienka.
Dombrowski only began racing on the road in 2010. Last year, he became the first American winner of the amateur Giro d'Italia.
After several meetings, the 21-year-old made up his mind in August to sign for Sky at the end of September. Besides the Omani stage race, Dombrowski had time to bond with his team at training camps in December and January in Majorca.
"The team's been impressive, really," Dombrowski told Cycling Weekly.
"I don't have anything to compare it to because I haven't been on other [professional] teams. Just talking to my buddies in the other teams, and hearing what it has been like for them, I think Sky's a cut above.
"They have a pretty good grasp on what your capabilities are because they so closely monitor your power files. Every day I'm on my bike, the SRM records what I'm doing, then I upload it, I comment. That goes to all the race coaches at Sky and they all see what's going on. They comment back a lot of times... Every day you're in contact with the team. For me, I really like that it's hands-on and a lot of structure."
Dombrowski will be working closely with Sky's new coach, Shaun Stephens. It works well as Dombrowski and Stephens have both relocated to Nice.
"The team is hands on with the riders," Dombrowski continued. "As far as training and nutrition, and all those aspects as far as your performance goes."
Brailsford is impressed Dombrowski's performance. In January camp meetings, he selected him in Sky's long team to support Wiggins at the Giro d'Italia in May.
To prepare for the Giro, Dombrowski will work with Stephens and race in Tirreno-Adriatico, Critérium International and the Giro del Trentino.
"It's a little daunting," Dombrowski said. "I was a little surprised to be selected for a Grand Tour at all in my first year. I definitely didn't think I'd do the Giro, especially with Bradley going there to win. It puts a little bit more pressure on the team so I figured they wouldn't put me in something like that.
"Obviously, nothing's set in stone. If they see that I'm not ready, I'm sure they'll have me sit it out. It's daunting, but I'm confident in the team and their ability to make those decisions."
Chris Froome wins Tour of Oman
Dombrowski gets ready for Sky and a life in Europe
Sky signs Dombrowski
Tour of Oman 2013: Preview and coverage index
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Gregor Brown is an experienced cycling journalist, based in Florence, Italy. He has covered races all over the world for over a decade - following the Giro, Tour de France, and every major race since 2006. His love of cycling began with freestyle and BMX, before the 1998 Tour de France led him to a deep appreciation of the road racing season.
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