Saturday, May 27, 2006

One Cool Cuban

Ivan's story is one of the coolest out there:

Ivan Dominguez began cycling at age 13 and has been racing competitively for the past 14 years. Born and raised in Havana, Cuba, Dominguez is a two-time Pan-Am Games Gold Medalist and former Cuban National Champion. He is still the country's current 4 km record-holder, a title he's owned since 1997.

While traveling to the United States in 1998 for the Goodwill Games with the rest of the Cuban National Cycling Team, Dominguez chose to defect. Speaking no English and knowing no one in the United States but an uncle in Miami, Ivan made ends meet by working at a shoe factory. Gradually, he learned English and started to make associations in the cycling world, competing and winning local races in Miami. His efforts paid off, when in 2001, he was offered a spot on the Saturn Professional Cycling Team.

Seizing the opportunity with a top U.S. squad, Dominguez racked up 20 major wins in his first two seasons, including a victory over Lance Armstrong in the 2002 New York City Championships. By the end of 2003, Saturn was the number one team, thanks in part to 11 first place finishes by Dominguez.

Over the past two years, Ivan has continued to excel with major wins at the Bank of America Invitational, Tour of Connecticut, and second place stage finishes at the 2004 Tour de Georgia behind Armstrong and Italian racing legend, Mario Cipollini.

While Dominquez is widely recognized as one of the top sprinters in the country today, his speed is also backed by endurance and climbing strength, a combination few riders possess. Consequently, the races he enjoys most are those that challenge "a little bit of everything"; the San Francisco Grand Prix and the Wachovia Series' Lancaster race are among his favorites.
Source: Toyota-United Bio.

About the shot: Shot from outside line of switchback on Nick-a-Jack climb (laying down). Canon Rebel XT; Sigma 70-200 f/2.8 EX DG HSM: ISO 100; f/2.8 @ 1/400s; 200mm focal length. Post-processing with Adobe Lightroom Beta 2.

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