|Timmy Duggan began his life in sports as an alpine ski racer, where he competed at a high level until he was eighteen or nineteen years old. He started cycling to stay in shape during the summer, but decided after ski racing that he would pick up cycling and give it a shot. He raced for the U.S National team as well as the under-23 team in Europe at the beginning of his career before riding for Jonathan Vaughters at the Slipstream and Garmin program. At the beginning of 2011, the 29 year old from Colorado signed a contract with Italian WorldTour team, Liquigas-Cannondale. Duggan continues to race with Liquigas-Cannondale in the 2012 season.
After an up and down career, which included several injuries including a traumatic brain injury, Duggan entered the 2012 U.S National Road Championships in Greenville, Carolina with only one teammate, Ted King, who is the only other American on Liquigas. On the final big climb of the day, Duggan rode away from the peloton with other race favorites such as Tejay van Garderen, Tom Danielson and defending champion Matthew Busche to form a breakaway. With approximately 12 miles remaining in the race, Timmy Duggan attacked the breakaway and soloed towards the finish line. The 29 year old American crossed the finish line by himself to claim the 2012 U.S National Road Championship title and take his first victory of 2012.
DailyPeloton.com- Hi Timmy, can you please tell us about yourself.
Timmy Duggan- I grew up in Colorado as an Alpine ski racer, I was ski racing until I was eighteen or nineteen and all through high school and I competed at a high level there, but cycling was something that I did a little bit during the summer just to stay in shape, dry land training kind of a think. When I stopped ski racing after high school I decided to give cycling a shot, because trying in it for skiing, I realize I was pretty good at it without really trying so hard, so once I quit skiing I picked it up from there and pretty quickly got some results. That lead to time on the U.S National team, the under-23 team over in Europe as well as a spot with Jonathan Vaughters Slipstream program. I grew with that program from there, raced in the Garmin program for many years and then moved over to Liquigas last year.
DP- What advice would you give to an amateur cyclist who wants to become a professional cyclist in their lifetime?
TD- I would say: don't let anyone tell you what you can't do, if people think you're crazy for doing this or that, whatever. Do your thing, follow your path and you can make it happen. There is no set way or path to success in cycling and I think no matter who you are or where you're from, you can make for yourself a good chance at success in the way that you want to do it. To kind of accommodate that: you want to meet as many people as you can, talk to as many people as you can, learn from most people and ask questions.
DP- You currently race with the Italian team, Liquigas-Cannondale, where you along with Ted King are the only Americans on the team. Tell us about the team from your point of view. What is it like for you and Ted King to be the only Americans on basically an all Italian team?
TD- For me coming from the Garmin program with this really American, innovative, always kind of changing and coming up with new ideas to team Liquigas, which is a much older team, all the directors and staff have been in it for a long time and everything is much more traditional and set in their ways. There are pros and cons to both side of it, but that is the big difference like going from something super new school and open to all sorts of new ideas to a team that is more traditional.
DP- Do you know Italian well enough to communicate with the other riders and staff on the team who don't speak English well?
TD- Definitely. There is definitely not a whole lot of English being spoken on our team, so Ted and I had to learn Italian pretty quick, but this year is definitely about one-thousand times more comfortable than last year, where we were first learning the language.
DP- You recently raced at the Amgen Tour of California where Peter Sagan won five out of the eight stages, what was it like to be at this year's Tour of California and have your team win 5 stages? Are you happy with your personal performance at this year's race?
TD- It was a great week. When you win one stage, the rest of them just keep kind of coming easier even if physically it is really difficult, but our team was just a well drilled machine; everyone has their job and we were able to deliver Peter to the line on a platter every single day, the biggest thing is that we have faith in him to finish it off, we know that if we do our best then he will do his best to finish it off with a win.
I was really happy with my performance there as well. The Amgen Tour of California was a big goal of mine from beginning of the year, so to put a good run of results together here at California and U.S Pro, it has been good and I hope to continue that, but at California I was pretty satisfied. I felt I wasn't just excelling at one thing, I was using every tool in my tool box to do my job and help Peter out for the stage wins, whether that was the final kilometers of a sprint stage or over a mountain stage breakaway, I was in there fighting every kilometer of the way.
DP- Recently in Greenville, South Carolina you raced at the US Professional National Road Championships, where you claimed victory with an impressive solo attack in the last several miles. Tell us about the five man breakaway and your final solo attack. What were your thoughts during your solo attack? What were your thoughts as you approached the finish line in Greenville?
TD- When we went over Paris Mountain for the last time we certainly had a truly elite selection with the five of us, everyone in that break was the real deal, nobody had teammates and it was going to be mano y mano to the finish line. I knew I had my work cut out for me, but with that kind of race the way that it was and as it is everywhere, it becomes kind of negative as you go into the finishing circuits; guys start thinking too much and look around, people are wondering which teammates are coming up, like Tejay (van Garderen) started to not work, because he thought that George (Hincapie) was coming up.
There are just a lot of question marks going into the finish, but at a confusing moment like that, if you can pick the right time to just go and put your head down and get a little gap while everyone else is just looking at each other, you can just ride to the finish line and that's what I always planned to do and that's what I did.
DP- Liquigas-Cannondale went in with two men to the U.S National Road Championships, what was the strategy going into the race?
TD- Just like last year, where it was the same situation, just the two of us. Ted King was on the podium in 3rd place, so we have come up with a good template, I guess, for success there, but the plan is to put one of us in the breakaway if we can do it. The breakaway, typically at that race, if it doesn't stay away to the finish, it has a pretty significant impact on the race, so if we can put one in there and one in the field, we both have more or less free ride and we can team up again for the finale. That was our goal again this year and I went with the split that happened early on in the race and we ended up staying away, but it was a unique situation, because it was a big split and it had a lot of the favorites in it, so it was kind of a new race I guess, but not any easier.
With the the two of us it is almost a blessing in disguise, because we don't have to do any work, no other teams are expecting us to pull anything back, because we can't. The drawback being that with two guys, we only have a couple matches to burn and we really, really have to be wise with our efforts, because if one of us make an effort at the wrong time, that's race over. So we had to do everything perfect.
DP- You and Ted King were the only two Liquigas-Cannondale men at the U.S National Road Championships, did you two get any support from the team in the feed zone or behind in a team car?
TD- With the help of Cannondale we put together a group of support. We had everything we needed all over the course from the feed zone and mechanic, massage and therapy before the race and accommodations at a friends house. We pieced it all together, it was certainly a little time consuming and stressful and it required a lot of planning ahead of time, but the benefit was that we could do it exactly how we wanted to do it and say: this is what we need and this is when we need it. It worked out and we made a plan, executed it and it worked out great. We had a really great time doing it too.
That is what makes the win so more special, I can truly share it with some of my good friends that were on the course helping me out or in the car behind or at the finish line, these people made a big difference for us all week and to pay them back with a win was huge. It felt really special to share that with them -, because they had a piece in it too.
DP- Now that you have become the US National Road Champion, do you feel that you may have a greater chance of making Liquigas-Cannondale's Tour de France squad?
TD- Absolutely. Anyone who is in a national champions jersey is a little more visible, a little bit more publicity, so it certainly makes me more attracted to the sponsor and it can put me in the Tour de France, but I haven't had any dialog with the team regarding that, so I don't know, we'll see.
I am focusing right now on having a good Tour de Suisse and we will have Sagan there, so we'll try to win 3, 4 or 5 more stages there.
DP- Do you know yet what your new Liquigas-Cannondale US National Championship jersey will look like?
TD- Nope, no idea. I haven't seen it yet, so I'll find out tomorrow (Friday, June 8th) when I meet up with the team at the race.
DP- You have had a difficult career with many injuries, such as fracturing your scapula and clavicle at the 2008 Tour de Georgia as well as a traumatic brain injury. What does it mean to you to overcome all of these injuries and win the US National Road Championships this year?
TD- Obviously it's really gratifying and kind of finally puts it into perspective for myself like how far I've come, where I was in an injured state in the last few years and being at the top of my game and being able to win at the highest level now. It feels really good, maybe before I hadn't seen that for myself, how far I have come, but now it is a little bit more obviously to me.
DP- Do you have any hobbies that you enjoy doing while off the bike?
TD- I like skiing, cooking, hiking and the mountains, hanging out with my dog and my wife is pretty fun too. I'm kind of a foodie; I like good food and wine for sure.
DP- What races are next for you in this 2012 racing season with Liquigas-Cannondale?
TD- I will be at the Tour of Poland in July, there is an outside chance at the Olympics and the big goal will be my home race in Colorado, the USA Pro Cycling Challenge, so I'll be really excited to show off my national championship jersey in my home town at that race.
DP- Is there anything else that you would like to discuss or talk in this interview?
TD- I don't think so, that's a pretty good gist of my background and recent events. Nothing springs to mind.
DP- Final Question: Is there anyone that you would like to thank that helped you get to the point in your professional career that you are at today?
TD- I don't know, it depends how much time you have; I have a lot of people to thank. Some big ones I'd say are obviously my wife, Loren and my parents for all the support in my sporting endeavors over my whole life and my teammate Ted King of course. The various coaches I've had in skiing and cycling that have guided me the whole way, various doctors and psychologists that I've worked with, that's probably about it.
Follow Timmy Duggan on his Twitter account and or his website
About the Author: Luke Allingham is an amateur bicycle athlete residing in Chicago, Illinois who continues to hone his skills despite entering his first year of high school in the coming year. He is a contributor to The Daily Peloton Cycling News covering men's professional cycling and interviewing bicycle racers from around the world.
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