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Interview: Ivan Dominguez , The 'Missle" Is Back
By Luke Allingham
Date: 11/29/2011
Interview: Ivan Dominguez , The 'Missle" Is Back

Interview: Ivan Dominguez , The "Missle" Is Back!
Catching up with fan favorite, Ivan Dominguez and his plans for 2011 "... my role will be as a  rider and also part owner, that is one of the main reason I'm back on the bike."

USA fan favorite, Havana born Ivan Dominguez  Cuban National Team. defected to the USA in 1998 and later became a citizen in 2009. The fans and press soon nicknamed him the "Cuban Missle" after he proved his sprinting acumen and would establish himself as one of the most feared sprinters on the pro circuit after signing with the Saturn team in 2001 claiming ten victories in his debut year at 24 years old.

In the next 9 years Ivan continued to add to his palmares, 2002 - 9 victories two of which were stages in the Vuelta la Independencia in the Dominican Republic. Ivan added 14 more in 2003 appearing on the podium 25 times. In 2004 he signed with the Colavita team rocketing to 5 victories with three stages in the Tour de Georgia and the prestigious Charlotte Presbyterian Hospital Invitational.

2005 with Health Net Dominguez picked up three wins  in a year  Switching to Toyota - United team in 2006 and would stand on the podium 12 times and the top step 3 along with winning the overall of the USA Crits series. 2007 was a banner year with 14 wins - three of which were stages in the Tour of Missouri.

Ivan opened his 2008 season in Mexico with two stage wins at the Vuelta al Norte. He followed up taking the opening stage in the Tour de Georgia and the yellow leaders jersey for the second time... unfortunately it would be the last year on Toyota United as the team lost its funding.  In 2009 Ivan tok the call to the "show" in Europe  riding for Fuji-Sevetto but returned home after six months to take a lone victory on Stage 5 at the Cascade Classic while riding with Rock Racing. In 2010 he returned to his Colavita roots to ride for Alexandre Sebastien at Jamis-Sutter Home Wines. 

Apparently refreshed after a few months off, and the encouragement of Tour of California winner Chris Horner, Ivan announced in August 2010 that he was back and would finish the season racing with 2011 Franco MRI elite team and help build the team for 2011. At 35 years old there is still fire in his legs and passion in his heart fo an old time bike fight...  its time to catch up with our favorite 'Cuban Missle"

Luke Allingham: You joined Franco MRI Racing Team in 2011, what will your role with them in 2012?

Ivan Dominguez: The Team might have different name next season, my role will be as a rider and also part owner, that is one of the main reasons I'm back on the bike.

2007 Tour of Missouri Stage 6: Victory Ivan Dominguez!
Photo © 2011 Kurt Jambretz/Action Images

L.A: Have you started training for 2012 yet? What is your training program looking like?

Ivan Dominguez: Pro riders never stop training, I got back on the bike very late in this 2011 season so I have to keep training non stop until the 2012 season starts.

L.A: Do you have racing schedule for 2012 yet? Do you have any races in mind that you are targeting?

Ivan Dominguez: I don't have the racing schedule yet, I'm still working on putting a Team together or maybe race by my self, when that is done, then I will know what races I will do and target as well.

Ivan followed up with a second stage victory, his 13th of 2007 season; and took the leaders jersey of the Tour of Missouri. Photo © 2011 Kurt Jambretz/Action Images

L.A: What will be your main goals for the new season?

Ivan Dominguez:  I have many; but I can't tell you, I need to set some things down before start letting every one knows what I'm going to do next season.

L.A: At the end of 2010 you announced your retirement; what brought about the decision? Why did you decide to come out of retirement?

Ivan Dominguez: Many things made me get back on the bike for racing. One was Chris Horner, that talk to me about keeping  racing, others are: I think that I can be a lot of help for the US cycling community. For me cycling will be more business than racing these days, it's not just me trying to win a lot of races; but also trying to help the sport. Now is the time to show real support.

Tour of California 2007 stage 7: Ivan Dominguez threads the needle to deny Graeme Brown, Gerald Ciolek, Luca Paolini and Robert Förster. Photo copyright Vaun Trevi & Dailypeloton

L.A:  Looking back on the 2011 season, how was your fitness on your return were you satified with the 2011 season?

Ivan Dominguez: Yes I was very happy with my fitness, I took 9 months off and that helped me a lot to get back on the bike.

L.A: What keeps you motivated to race?

Ivan Dominguez: So many things, Family, Friends and Fans, those are my main motivation these days.

L.A: Where is your have a favorite training area?

Ivan Dominguez: Los Angeles area and out side of Orlando area, I also like the Miami early group rides very much, they are fast and I get my legs in place in no time.

L.A: What is the funniest thing you've seen or experienced at a race or during a training ride?

Ivan Dominguez: I wish I can tell you, for now lets leave it there ;)

L.A: What advice would you give to a young rider who hopes to become professional in the future?

Ivan Dominguez: Train hard but train smart, very smart.

L.A: How did you get interested in the sport of cycling?

Ivan Dominguez: I love bikes and I do love the cycling clothes and on top of all that, I love to go fast, very fast.

L.A: Do you have any hobbies that you like to do off the bike?

Ivan Dominguez:  I have so many but now my main one is to spend time with my family.

L.A: What are your hopes for 2012, to get to a professional level again? Will you remain with Franco MRI?

Ivan Dominguez:  Like I said before, I'm trying to put a Team together with Franco company and two good friends from Florida, it might not be MRI any more, the MRI company might bring another product that needs to be promoted; we'll see. But for sure I will be riding Franco bikes.

L.A: That year you spent with Rock Racing must have been frustrating. What was going on then?

Ivan Dominguez: I only did the last 6 month of 2009 with Rock Racing, a lot was going on therem but it was out of my hands to fix it or make it better, about the riders, I do miss those guys and I do miss few of the staff people.

Follow Ivan on: Twitter and Facebook
Franco Bikes

The Cuban Missile Lands at Health Net
(Cathy Mehl 2005 interview where Ivan discusses his defection from Cuba.)

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