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Ivan Dominguez wants to race and put bad luck behind him
By Lyne Lamoureux
Date: 7/10/2007
Ivan Dominguez wants to race and put bad luck behind him

Cuban sprint specialist Ivan Dominguez, of the Toyota-United Pro Cycling Team, is ready to tackle the Bend Memorial Clinic Cascade Classic stage race for the first time in his career and will not let the latest spate of bad luck bring him down.

"I really want to do this race," Dominguez said. "I cannot keep training and training and training. I need to race to get faster."

This will be the first stage race for Dominguez stage race since crashing out of the first stage at the Tri-Peaks Challenge in mid-May, and he only returned to racing two weeks ago at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix. Bad luck hit again at his following race, the Infineon Cougar Mountain Classic Criterium, where Dominguez was involved in a crash on the final turns on the final lap before the sprint to the finish line. Dominguez had been in the determining breakaway group and was an odds-on favorite to take the sprint and the win. It was an unlucky weekend all around for the team, as Henk Vogels was also injured in a separate incident and broke his scapula and will be out for six to eight weeks.

Freak Crash at Tri-Peaks Challenge

"That was a stupid crash, I don't know." said Dominguez, still uncertain how the freak crash happened during but thinks it has to do with throwing the bike at slow speed. "I throw the bike, I was doing a sprint, and talking at the same time with (Sean) Sullivan. I don't know I guess we were going so slow it's not the same when you do it (throw the bike) fast, so I was going 20 k/hour, throw the bike and my front wheel flipped and took me over the bars."

Dominguez landed first on the back of his head, then his right shoulder and for a moment thought he had broken his collarbone. But then, he landed very hard on his back, and knew as soon as it happened that it was serious. "I cannot breathe, move, the guys came right away and a few friends from Miami also came and asked me how I feel, and I said I cannot move." The only way he could breathe was to put the helmet at the back of his head to stabilize it.

Domniguez explains the extent of his injury
Photo Thien Dinh
Directly from the race, he went to the hospital and underwent X-rays and a catscan as his stomach also hurt and he was worried that there might be some internal bleeding. Happily, nothing showed up and he went back home to rest and recover. However, a week later, after still experiencing a lot of pain in his back, he went back for an MRI where the medical staff discovered that his fifth rib was cracked, and from that point on, only rest was advised.

"It's rest and wait for it to heal by itself normally some people put an old-fashioned thing (corset) but it's hard to sleep."

It was a difficult period for Dominguez as he couldn't do anything on the bike and had trouble sleeping, "it was hard to walk, to drive, to do everything, to sit. You know when it's broken you deal with it but when it's something like that, you want to train but you cannot do it. It's hard."

Helping during his recovery period was the support from his teammates and fans. He received masses of emails, phonecalls and was surprised by the outpouring of attention and well wishes he received from fans. "I said to my wife, you know how many people call everyday. It feels nice, before that I knew that people know me but after I crashed that's when I realized how much people like me. It's good."

Dominguez finally got back on his bike two weeks before returning to racing at the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix in front on his home town fans but his form was still not one hundred percent, especially compared to his competitors. "These guys have been racing for a month a half that I stopped, they keep riding and racing I don't know if I can deliver today but I'm going to do my best."

Dominguez finished second in a sprint to Rahsaan Bahati (Rock Racing) in a race which is known for a dangerous last turn before the final finish. "The legs were a little bit heavy, but second place is good. I'm still in pain, and I need more racing", said a tired Dominguez after the race.

Bad Luck hits again at Cougar Mountain Classic

With one more week of training in his legs, Dominguez came to the Infineon Cougar Mountain Classic Criterium with three teammates with one thing in mind, winning, and before the race he happily informed me that he "was doing good, the pain is gone."

Dominguez managed to get into the decisive 10-man breakaway of the race and the group lapped the field halfway through the 90-minute criterium. He appeared to be in the perfect position to win the race when with two turns to go, Dominguez was sitting in third place on the wheel of Alessandro Bazzana (Successful p/w Parkpre) who was following his leadout when the crash happened and a few riders went down.

Dominguez surveys the damage after the crash in the final turn that knocked him out of the race.
Photo Veronika Lenzi
The first guy didn't make it through the turn and went straight," Dominguez said. "Bazzana braked so I had to brake too. I was going to be OK, but when you're going 60 kilometers an hour the people behind you can't get stopped and someone hit me."

Dominguez suffered minor road rash on his body including his hand and decided to sit out the next day's Circuit Race as pulling on the bars could be a problem.

Ready to fly at Cascade Cycling Classic

Dominguez will join his Toytota-United team mates to defend their title at the 6-stage Cascade Cycling Classic in Oregon and he is targeting stage 4, Friday night's Desert Orthopedics/Rebound Physical Therapy Downtown Criterium.

As Dominguez once said "sometimes you fly" and he is hoping to fly once more at his next race, and that the spate of bad luck is done.

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