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American Timmy Duggan called it a career on Monday, after some time to reflect while waiting on a verbal deal with Cannondale to come through.
The announcement, posted on his website, comes after a tough 2013 campaign with Saxo-Tinkoff, during which he sustained a broken leg at the Santos Tour Down Under and never truly recovered. In a note on his site, Duggan was candid and open with his fans and the sport.
“In the ambulance to the hospital with my season-threatening injury, I began to question if this was worth it anymore. Despite plenty of support and being surrounded by incredible teammates and team staff at Saxo-Tinkoff, I hated nearly every day of the season, I was miserable and depressed. It is incredibly frustrating as an athlete to not be able to be at your best, and, even worse, I wasn’t sure if I really wanted it any more,” he wrote. “Cycling has given me a lot, but it has also taken a lot away. I wouldn’t trade my experiences, accomplishments, and relationships I’ve had in cycling for anything, but the injuries, the time away from home, and the sacrifice of so much to ride a bike faster are weighing heavy. At this point in my career, even when things are going very well, racing bikes is not making me truly happy. It doesn’t excite me like it used to. When I was thinking about the 2014 season, I couldn’t see myself being happy enough, regardless of the situation.”
Duggan, the 2012 U.S. road champion and Olympian, wrote that in recent weeks he was able to spend more time with his family and friends, and that he felt “alive” again. The 31-year-old is no stranger to pain on the bike, and the issues racing can present. He suffered a serious brain injury in a horrific crash at the Tour of Georgia in 2008. He’s broken more bones along the way (including the bad leg break early last season) and decided enough was enough. “It has become clear how important some other things are to me and how much I’m missing,” he wrote.
In place of cycling, Duggan will pursue a career in residential real estate, a family business of more than 30 years, and is working to earn a real estate license. He will also work with the Lake Eldora Racing Team. “Ski racing is my original sport and one that is very close to my heart, and I’m excited to apply the knowledge and experiences I’ve had in reaching the top levels of cycling to the next generation of aspiring Olympians in ski racing,” he wrote.
He concluded: “Cycling gave me goals and the opportunity to accomplish them, and the journey along that whole process has shaped me, and for that I am very proud. But cycling certainly doesn’t define me, and its not who I want to be anymore. Already I feel so incredibly alive as I move forward into my next ambitions.”