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ADELAIDE, Australia (VN) – Tim Duggan is down again, but he’s not out.
After crashing out of the Santos Tour Down Under on stage 3 and undergoing surgery in an Australian hospital, the reigning U.S. road champion vows to be back in the pack as soon as possible.
On Friday, doctors repaired a broken right clavicle and a non-displaced fracture on his left tibial plateau. On Saturday evening, the Saxo-Tinkoff rider returned to the team hotel; he’s scheduled to fly home to Colorado on Monday.
“I will wait to see my ortho’ back in Colorado, [but] it’s sounding like six weeks until I am back on the bike,” Duggan told VeloNews.
“It’s nice that it’s the middle of January and I can come back in the middle of May, and there are six months of racing left.”
Duggan crashed with two laps to go on a finishing circuit in Thursday’s third stage and spent two nights in an Australian hospital.
Duggan said he’s more worried about the knee injury than the shoulder, but he’s already able to move his knee despite a full leg brace.
“I do not want to rush it. There is plenty of time to try to accomplish my goals,” he said.
“If there’s anything I’ve learned about injuries, you cannot get frustrated or lose hope. You have to work on it day by day. I am not going to rush it. This is the first time I’ve done any damage to my legs, and they’re pretty important as a cyclist.”
Duggan said he couldn’t quite pinpoint why he hit the deck while speeding through a roundabout. Before he knew it, he found himself with no room to maneuver — he “had to slide out and smacked the curb. That was it.”
“I don’t know if it was pilot error or if I misjudged something. I hit a pretty big curb. I landed in a garden, I was covered in dirt and mud,” he added.
Asked to describe his sensations while lying on the ground: “It was complete frustration. It was like, ‘Fuck, fuck, fuck, I cannot believe I did this!’ It didn’t even hurt. What hurt more was the realization that the next several months are over.”
Duggan, who has endured other heavy crashes in his career, says he’s realistically optimistic about his recover.
“I’ve been through this several times now in the sport. You ask yourself if it’s worth it,” Duggan said. “I take it more in the moment now. I am not sitting on the operating table, yeah, I am going to come back and win the Tour de France.
“I am also not going to say, ‘This is it, I’m done. I cannot do this anymore.’ I let things evolve more now organically and try not to put pressure on it either way.”
His season certainly didn’t start the way he had hoped. Just before the start of that day’s stage, Duggan was excited about racing his first grand tour with Saxo-Tinkoff this season.
Fortunately, he’s not seriously injured and hopes to be competitive before the season’s out.
Finally, Duggan wanted to thank his friends and fans that have reached out to support him.
“It’s been amazing the number of messages, email, Twitters and Facebooks that I’ve received from all over the world,” he said. “The team has been completely supportive of me.”